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Medical Education
Bridges Curriculum

Faculty Approve Blueprint for Bridges Curriculum

The UCSF Bridges Curriculum will leverage the power of medical education to advance health care today while preparing graduates for their roles as transformational 21st Century Physicians. We will educate our medical students to embrace the roles and responsibilities of the 21st century physician: a collaborative physician who is deeply committed to providing the highest quality care for today’s patients and to advancing medicine and health care for future generations of patients.

Faculty-led workgroups comprised of learners, administrators, and faculty have been working rapidly since the March Bridges Curriculum Retreat to develop a blueprint for the new Bridges Curriculum. The blueprint moved through an approval process that culminated with the Faculty Council on June 24, 2014. Details about the development of the blueprint were reported in the article UCSF Community Pushes Towards Bridges Curriculum Blueprint
The blueprint features a number of core elements of the Bridges Curriculum including early longitudinal immersion in a clinical team; an inquiry curriculum founded in six core domains of science; and the movement of the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 to month 32 of the program.

Early Longitudinal Clinical Immersion
With the Bridges Curriculum, early medical students will have the opportunity to learn and contribute as members of clinical teams on a regular basis over an extended period of time.  This summer, student pioneers are exploring new roles for students to be active participants in improving patient care in an authentic learning environment.  Students will benefit by feeling like a member of clinical teams rather than observers, and clinical teams will benefit by having the energy, enthusiasm, perspective, and skills of a talented UCSF medical student.  

Inquiry Curriculum
The new UCSF Inquiry Curriculum aims to provide students with the opportunity to learn the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that facilitate the advancement of knowledge and capabilities in biomedical research, clinical medicine, and healthcare at-large. These include the ability to ask insightful and important questions; search, interpret, and analyze existing data and information; build and test hypotheses and prototypes; and champion and disseminate new knowledge.  All students will reach a core level of competency in all six domains of scientific inquiry that are critical to solving the most challenging problems related to health: Biomedical science; Clinical and Translational science; Population Science and Public Health; Pedagogy; Social and Behavioral science; and Systems/Implementation science.  As of now, the Inquiry Curriculum is envisioned as having two main parts:  1) a longitudinal, 4-year structured curriculum that includes case-based small group learning, short-term individual and team-based inquiry experiences, and elective or selective mini-courses through which students achieve that core competency in all six domains; and 2) a "Deep Dive" program, modeled after our Pathways to Discovery Program, that enables students to, over the course of their time at UCSF, achieve a higher level of competency in at least one of the scientific domains and disseminate their findings on an important question.

Movement of USMLE Step 1
A bold decision in the design of the Bridges Curriculum is to move the date students take the required USMLE Step 1 exam to February of the third year of medical school after students have finished the majority of their core foundational science and clinical curricula. A Foundational Science Steering Committee (FSSC) task force determined that moving the exam to third year was ideal for achieving the goals of the Bridges curriculum, while not impacting the success of students passing the exam. The task force commissioned an impact study before making their decision. Read full report online

Staged Rollout of Bridges Curriculum Begins Fall 2015
Now that the Blueprint has been approved, teams are beginning work this summer on designing elements of the new curriculum with a plan to rollout the new curriculum in two primary stages. Stage One will begin in Fall 2015 when students in years one through three of their training will participate in Bridges curriculum elements.  Stage Two will begin in Fall 2016 with all remaining elements moving into place to complete the Bridge Curriculum. Details regarding which elements will launch in 2015 are being finalized this summer.