Inquiry for Current Students

Comprising 30% of the total medical degree program, Inquiry starts with weekly half-day sessions in Year #1 and culminates in up to 20 weeks of mentored project time during Career Launch during Year #4.

Introducing Core Inquiry Curriculum:

Spanning Years 1 & 2, these weekly facilitated small groups and targeted didactics explore current, complex, and cutting-edge problems in healthcare and science through the lens of two or more disciplines embedded in the Foundations 1 Curriculum. For example, groups of 6-8 students analyze the appropriate response to electronic cigarettes, new approaches to antimicrobial resistance, or using multiple frameworks from each of the Domains of Understanding. Through this component, learners build competency in evidence-based medicine, biostatistics, study design, medical ethics and clinical reasoning.

Michelle Hermiston, MD, PhD
Director, Core Inquiry Curriculum          

John Turnbull, MD
Co-Director, Core Inquiry Curriculum 

Welcome to Inquiry Immersion:                                                               

Aligned after Winter Break, Immersion is a two-week period of reflection and planning for future research for students in Year 1. In addition to protected time for Inquiry, students also participate in research-focused didactics, skill-building experiences, and interprofessional Mini-Course selectives offered by preeminent UCSF faculty scholars. Through this component, students experience the breadth of biomedical science, continue to refine skills in inquiry, connect to a community of practice, and begin forging their own independent scholarship. 

Nilika Singhal, MD
Director, Inquiry Immersion           

Designing and Conducting Research (DCR) Course:

The month-long DCR Course has been offered at UCSF for over 30 years, providing trainees and faculty the overarching concepts and essential vocabulary for planning and interpreting clinical research. Today, all medical students receive the course as part of the Bridges Curriculum's Career Launch phase which begins in March of the fourth year. 

Taught primarily as small-group sessions, the Designing & Conducting Research course serves as an introduction to the process of clinical research, defined broadly as patient-oriented, translational, epidemiologic, comparative effectiveness, behavioral, outcomes, or health services research (i.e., any research that has individual human beings or groups of human beings as its unit of observation). In addition, students whose research requires expert-level skills  in areas such as qualitative analysis, community engaged research, human-centered design, data program, educationally-focused, advanced biostatistical, or quality-improvement methodology, will also have the opportunity to attend elective workshops, as needed. At the conclusion of DCR, all students will emerge with a complete proposal and project plan ready to begin their Deep Explore.     

Meyeon Park, MD
Director, DCR       

Rebecca Graff, PhD
Co-Director, DCR   

The Deep Explore Experience:                               

Inquiry is the lifelong process of challenging current concepts and creating new knowledge, or comparable scholarship. Each step of the UCSF Inquiry Curriculum advances the learner -- first to a sophisticated consumer of biomedical science and then, in Deep Explore, to a producer of new knowledge. Deep Explore has three aims:

  • To support students in a project, ordinarily of at least 12 weeks’ duration, that speaks to their own passions and advances the frontiers of knowledge;
  • To give students a mentored experience that offers them a bond with a faculty member;
  • Through the experience, to help students attain competencies in proposal-writing, critical thinking, scholarship and communication.

Rita Redberg, MD, MS
Director, Deep Explore Curriculum                                                                              

GME Pathways Courses:

The Pathways to Discovery program was built in 2009 in recognition that advancing health worldwide requires leadership, expertise, and vision that goes beyond the excellent care of individual patients.  Pathways provides career training and mentorship for students, residents, and fellows in innovation, leadership and research. The Pathways were the “seed” that sparked what is now the four-year Inquiry Curriculum! The sunset of the Pathways to Discovery program in 2019 paved the way for the re-imagined GME Pathways program. Bridges Curriculum students can participate in this program during the Career Launch phase by enrolling in the elective courses provided by Pathways. Residents and Fellows apply to the program and should receive support from the Program Director in advance of acceptance. 

Erick Hung, MD
Director, GME Pathways