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Medical Education
Bridges Curriculum

UCSF Community Pushes Towards Bridges Curriculum Blueprint

The UCSF 21st century physician will have individual expertise grounded in inquiry and collaborative expertise with teams and systems.
    —Bridges Vision Statement

The voices of many are the foundation of the new Bridges Curriculum. To hear what the various constituencies at UCSF deem most important to advancing physician education, UCSF Medical Education gathered educators, clinicians, scientists, staff and students at the Presidio Institute in March for a day of brainstorming at the 2014 Medical Education Retreat.

“The retreat really brought the community together and made sure that we were going in the same direction,” said Susan Masters, professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology and associate dean for curriculum. “It was such a great range of participants, who said they did a lot of listening to each other and also felt like they were really heard.”

“Out of a lot of seemingly disparate views, we found a kernel of agreement in them all,” said Catherine Lucey, MD, vice dean for education. “Everyone here is committed to the higher purpose of creating doctors who think well and learn how to ask critical questions, who then use those skills to not only improve health care for individual patients, but also to advance science as a whole.”

The collective inspiration of the group was harnessed to generate ideas on how to teach students about the issues that the 21st-Century Physician faces. Lucey outlined the two main challenges for the curriculum: how to ensure that UCSF medical graduates are able to use inquiry to solve complex systems problems, and how to incorporate and build upon core foundational learning to enhance advanced clinical training.

Retreat participants generated hundreds of ideas guiding the design of an inquiry-based curriculum. “The brainstorming was creative and productive,” said Karen Hauer, the co-chair of the Bridges Student Assessment and Program Evaluation Steering Committee and director of student assessment for the school of medicine.

The potential strategies for addressing the two main challenges generated a number of “big ideas” around the two major elements of medical education: first to define the structures that help students learn foundational sciences and then to find ways for students to apply the knowledge and skills they have learned in the clinical environment.

“The idea of all students taking a deeper dive in an area of inquiry gained a lot of resonance in the retreat,” said Masters, and the team is pursuing new ways to provide all students with the opportunity to explore a topic of interest in depth.  Read more