The University’s Medical School will be implementing some of its most comprehensive curriculum changes in more than 50 years.

The Medical School will be aided in these improvements by using a $1.1 million grant it won last Friday from the American Medical Association as part of its “Accelerating Change in Medical Education” initiative — which awarded funding to 11 schools actively seeking to create a “significant positive impact on physician training and the medical profession.”

More than 130 medical schools across the country responded to the AMA’s competition to improve medical education. Of those, 119 presented transformative proposals. Thirty-one of them advanced to the next round and were asked to submit a full proposal and grant request. Ultimately, 11 medical schools, including the University, received funding.

The grant was awarded to the University for its proposal to transform the Medical School curriculum into a competency-based program that will be implemented over the next five years. The money will be used to train faculty and staff and fund projects that arise from the curriculum changes.

The University has been building toward this curriculum change for the last three years through a modular implementation of small pilots and programs — one of these, the Taubman Health Sciences Library renovation project, is scheduled to begin in January and be completed by 2015.

Rajesh Mangrulkar, associate dean for medical student education, said the changes were being made in order to keep the program competitive.

“The overarching goal here is we want to change the architecture and the content of our program in order to be able to compete,” Mangrulkar said.

The first component of the new curriculum will establish a “consolidated foundation,” he said. In most medical schools, students complete two years of coursework followed by two years in a clinical setting. In contrast, the University plans to condense the two years of coursework and the first year of clinical studies into a two-year period.

The new curriculum will also feature professional development. Students will be able to choose from four branches that will help them develop the advanced clinical and scientific skills needed in the medical profession.

“It will be rigorous but flexible,” Mangrulkar said. “(Students) will be able to monitor their pace of development based on specific assessments and the achievement of milestones.”

The Medical School will also introduce a “leadership and change management” component into its curriculum that would help students garner skills required for leading healthcare teams.

Mangrulkar said “health equality,” “bioethics” and “quality and safety” were possible examples of this component. Students would then choose to focus on one “path of excellence.”

Perhaps the largest change to the University’s Medical School curriculum is M-Home, a longitudinal, clinical and educational learning community assigned to students in their first year and until the end of their training. By connecting students, Mangrulkar said a team of faculty, instructors and advisors would help student development.

“Imagine drawing basic sciences and clinical sciences from the foundation into all group settings for discussion,” he said. “(Imagine) drawing reflections about their leadership and change management experiences with each other in a small group setting.”

The actual shift to the new curriculum will start in August 2015, but there is no set date when the University is going to “flip the switch” on the new program.

“I think it’s absolutely transformative what we’re doing here,” Mangrulkar said. “When you compare us to the other schools that were funded … I think ours is probably proposing the broadest change across the curriculum.”

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