Update on the Curriculum Renewal Process

In the June edition of the EdUpdate we detailed the overall architecture of the Gateway Curriculum that has been developed over the last 16 months through the hard work and expertise of many members of the education community at Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM). We are proud of the product thus far and tremendously appreciative of the input from so many dedicated and enthusiastic individuals, including staff, students, house officers, and residents. In this edition we will discuss in more detail the work of the recently initiated curricular design teams.

In April, a call went out for Phase 1 integrated curriculum designers. The intent is for these groups to work diligently over the next 6 months to produce integrated content maps, curriculum delivery plans, assessment structures, and meaningful patient care experiences for Phase 1 of the Gateway Curriculum in advance of its rollout in the summer of 2020. A diverse group of faculty from 14 departments were selected to serve on these teams by virtue of their knowledge and educational experience. Team membership is detailed in the following table.

Basic-Clinical Sciences Integration

Leader: Sabrina Nuñez, PhD, Assistant Dean for Curriculum and Foundational Sciences

  • Amy Bauernfeind, PhD
  • Steven Cheng, MD
  • Erika Crouch, MD, PhD
  • Lai Kuan Dionne, PhD
  • Simon Haroutounian, PhD, MSc
  • Linda Pike, PhD
  • Justin Sadhu, MD
  • Sandeep Tripathy, MD
  • Allyson Zazulia, MD

Community Engagement/Social & Health Systems Sciences

Leader: Laurie Punch, MD, Director of Medical Student Community Engagement

  • Ina Amarillo, PhD
  • Dennis Chang, MD
  • Komo Gursahani, MD, MBA
  • Janice Hanson, PhD
  • Steven Lawrence, MD
  • Jay Malone, MD, PhD
  • Kaytlin Reedy-Rogier, MSW
  • Collen Wallace, MD

Clinical Skills/Immersions

Leader: Steven Lawrence, MD, Assistant Dean for Curriculum and Clinical Sciences

  • Joseph Bradley, MD
  • Douglas Larsen, MD, MEd
  • Michelle Miller-Thomas, MD
  • Jonathan Mullin, MD
  • Joan Noelker, MD
  • Tammy Sonn, MD
  • Timothy Yau, MD


Leader: Amanda Emke, MD, Director of Medical Student Assessment

  • Kari Allen, PhD
  • Eve Colson, MD, MHPE
  • Carolyn Dufault, PhD
  • Steven Lawrence, MD
  • Sabrina Nuñez, PhD
  • Brendan O’Connor, MD

To ensure the inclusion of a broad spectrum of thought and opinion, a general call went out in mid-June for advisors and content experts for the design teams. We had an outstanding response and have enlisted the assistance of nearly 90 faculty to serve as an expert or advisor assigned to one of the four teams. These individuals represent over 40 schools, offices, departments, institutes, divisions, and programs. They also include all academic ranks, 8 different professional degrees, and 15 WUSM departments. In addition, all current course, section, and thread directors will be engaged for their expertise. We are in the process of recruiting a group of medical students to advise the teams from their unique and tremendously important lived experience of the current curriculum and its learning environment.

The Basic-Clinical Sciences Integration team has been charged with creating the core content outline and mapping for all major curricular modules within Phase 1 of the Gateway Curriculum and to inform the foundational components of Phase 2. This team’s most immediate task is to determine the general content, structure, and sequence of the Phase 1 foundational modules. The Clinical Skills/Immersions team is tasked with creating the curriculum outline and developing the integration structure for clinical skills training throughout Phase 1 of the Gateway Curriculum, and designing content outlines, experiential requirements, and identifying resources necessary for the Phase 1 clinical immersions. Given that the immersions are a new and highly visible component of the Gateway Curriculum, considerable effort will be focused on creating authentic and meaningful early clinical experiences for medical students. The Assessment team will develop a robust overarching program of assessment for the Gateway Curriculum and will collaborate with the other teams to develop assessments for their curricular units. In order to assure that all graduating medical students have attained the school’s curricular competencies, we anticipate the incorporation of more individual assessments, progress testing, and workplace-based assessments.  The Community Engagement/Social & Health Systems Sciences team’s assigned work consists of developing a content outline for social sciences, professional identity formation, and health systems sciences across the Gateway Curriculum and determining how best to integrate this curricular content during Phase 1. Because of the broad range of topics encompassed, this group will be particularly reliant on the engagement of content experts and advisors.

All of the teams have been meeting at least weekly for the past month and are supported in their work by project managers from the Office of Education. In the coming weeks, the teams will be engaging their advisors and experts to elicit their response to curricular design ideas. We are in the planning stages of a working retreat for the design teams in September. A second phase of design, beginning no later than January of next year, will focus on the production of actual content to be rolled out to the entering class in 2020.

Further updates will be provided as new details emerge. General information regarding the renewal can be found on the Gateway Curriculum website, including the guiding principles of the renewal effort and the graduation competencies.

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