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Medical Education
Bridges Curriculum

UCSF SOM and AMA Mark Major Milestone in Reshaping Medical Education Nationwide

University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, AMA Mark Major Milestone in Reshaping Medical Education Nationwide

UCSF Physicians, Faculty Join Leaders from 10 Other Top Medical Schools at Vanderbilt University to Discuss Next Steps in Preparing Medical Students for Changing Health Care Landscape, as part of AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – It’s been a year since the American Medical Association (AMA) awarded $1 million to University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine as part of its ambitious $11 million initiative Accelerating Change in Medical Education. And this week, leaders from the UCSF School of Medicine and leaders from the other 10 medical schools selected for the grant convened at Vanderbilt University’s School of Medicine to embark on the next phase to help reshape the way medical students are educated in this country.

“There has been a universal call to transform the teaching of medicine to shift the focus of education toward real-world practice and competency assessment, which is why the AMA launched the Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative,” said Robert M. Wah, M.D., president, American Medical Association. “The AMA is proud to be leading the charge to answer this call. Over the last year, we have made significant progress in transforming curriculum at these medical schools that can and will help close the gaps that currently exist between how medical students are trained and the way health care is delivered in this country now and in the future.”

UCSF School of Medicine was among 11 medical schools selected based on their bold and innovative ideas to reshape medical education. In the last year, UCSF has made significant progress in implementing its three-phase UCSF Bridges Curriculum, in which physicians will learn to work expertly in interprofessional teams to advance science and improve health care. In Foundations I, students will embrace the habit of inquiry while learning basic, clinical and systems sciences. In the clinical microsystems clerkship, year-one students will join teams to improve health care quality. In Foundations II, redesigned clerkships will allow students to improve their competency in clinical care and basic science. In the final career launch phase students will conduct a scholarly exploration into an important problem in medical science or health care. UCSF also recently launched a massive open online course, or MOOC, titled “Collaboration and Communication in Healthcare: Interprofessional Practice” on Sept. 15.

“Over the past year, the vision of Bridges has moved from a big idea to an exciting reality,” said Catherine Lucey, MD, vice dean for education at UCSF School of Medicine. “That reality is the direct result of the creative energy and collaborative efforts of literally hundreds of UCSF faculty, staff and students who have come together to create strategies to improve the curriculum.”

Leaders from UCSF shared this progress with the 10 other selected schools during today’s meeting at Vanderbilt. The meeting is part of the AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative’s learning consortium that was established to ensure the 11 selected schools share best practices and ideas for future implementation of their programs in medical schools across the country. Over the next four years, the AMA will continue to track, gather data and report on the progress of the medical schools’ collective work in order to identify and widely disseminate the best models for transformative educational change.

“Each school, including University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine, has taken major steps forward to advance their grant projects and, collectively, we have made great strides in moving the needle toward reshaping medical education on a national level,” said Susan Skochelak, M.D., M.P.H., AMA Group Vice President for Medical Education. “These efforts will help propel medical education into the 21st century and ultimately improve care and outcomes for patients.”  

As part of the consortium, UCSF is working with these 11 schools to reshape medical education across the country. Some of the other schools’ projects include leading-edge educational models that allow medical students to gain experience within the health care system from day one of medical school, new curriculum that give students with prior healthcare experience an opportunity to progress through medical school based on individual competency, classes designed to boost physician leadership and team care skills, and courses that ensure medical students are trained on the use of electronic health records. Each school’s grant project can be tracked at

 “Through this bold and collaborative effort, the AMA is at the forefront of creating the medical school of the future and ensuring medical students are provided the training needed to become our physicians of the future,” said Dr. Skochelak.

About the AMA

The American Medical Association is the premier national organization dedicated to empowering the nation’s physicians to continually provide safer, higher quality, and more efficient care to patients and communities. For more than 165 years the AMA has been unwavering in its commitment to using its unique position and knowledge to shape a healthier future for America.


Laura Kurtzman
UCSF Public Affairs
(415) 476-3163