About Inquiry

Roots of Inquiry at UCSF:
Research, scholarship, innovation and creativity are essential ingredients of life in the San Francisco Bay Area and Uniquely UCSF.  The Inquiry Curriculum grew from the elective Areas of Concentration Program for medical students, which was founded in 2004 and transformed into Pathways to Discovery in 2009.  These programs recognized that advancing health worldwide required leadership, expertise, and vision beyond excellence in caring for individual patients.  The Pathways provided optional career training and mentorship for students, residents, and fellows in innovation, leadership and research. The Bridges curriculum builds on these precedents to create 21st Century training grounded in understanding healthcare systems, team-based care, and inquiry into the roots of health and the causes of disease.

Inquiry Curriculum Competencies:
Built upon a foundation of leadership and expertise, the Inquiry curriculum is designed to develop the following competencies:

  • Read, critically understand, and apply literature using LEAD framework in the six Domains of Science (Locate, Evaluate, Assemble, Make Decisions)
  • Demonstrate the ability to formulate the right question using the FINER criteria: feasible, interesting, novel, ethical, relevant
  • Critically analyze and evaluate study design and data
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply ethical principles to medicine and research
  • Effectively communicate and disseminate medical knowledge
  • Effectively engage in Team Science
  • Demonstrate an Inquiry "Habit of Mind" (e.g., curiosity, skepticism, appreciation for ambiguity)

In addition, the Inquiry Curriculum aims to:

  • Extend student understanding of biomedical sciences to the edge of what is known and recognize the limits of current knowledge;
  • Provide individualized, four-year project advising to every student, small group teaching in every course, and Designing and Conducting Research, a course in experimental design and proposal-writing, for all students;
  • Offer the widest range of choice in the exploration of scientific and creative domains;
  • Integrate learners from different UCSF schools and levels of training into the primary experience of all UCSF medical students;
  • Enable 12-20 weeks of flexible, protected time to complete an independent mentored project;
  • Simplify the grant-finding and funding process for all learners.

The Inquiry Curriculum is led by a committee of faculty and staff from the Office of Medical Education.  Download the Inquiry Curriculum Organizational Chart.

Director, Gordon “Buck” Strewler, MD
Gordon "Buck" Strewler graduated from Dartmouth College and Harvard Medical School. After an endocrinology fellowship, he joined the UCSF faculty in 1979. His focus is calcium and bone metabolism. He was Chief of the Endocrine Unit at the SFVAMC and also directed the UCSF Endocrinology Fellowship Program. Dr. Strewler returned to Boston in 1996. He was Chief of Medicine at the West Roxbury VA Medical Center (now part of the VA Boston Healthcare System) until 2001, when he became Master of the Walter Bradford Cannon Society, one of five learning communities in which Harvard medical students spend their academic lives. He subsequently became Director of the Scholars in Medicine program at HMS and Vice Chair for Education in the department of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He returned to UCSF in September, 2015 to join the Inquiry leadership team.