New Med School Curriculum has IPE Focus

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The U-M Medical School’s new curriculum will draw on interprofessional teams to improve communication, decrease potential errors, and improve the patient experience.

In the fall of 2015 — as part of the U-M Medical School’s efforts to transform the curriculum to better prepare learners to lead change in an evolving health care environment — each incoming first-year student will be immersed in the clinical setting upon entry into medical school, and develop longitudinal relationships with patients and care providers much earlier than in the current model. In addition, they will have an opportunity to increase their interaction with professionals and students from U-M’s schools of Nursing, Pharmacy, Dentistry and Social Work.

In the coming months, the Curricular Strategic Planning team will be working with the U-M Health System community to identify specific settings, teams and roles to bring the early clinical experience into operation. Learning in the clinical context from day 1 is a major feature of the curricular transformation.

The goals of these early clinical experiences are three-fold:

  1. For students to observe and reflect on the delivery of health care as a process conducted by interprofessional teams within a system.
  2. For students to contribute toward a team in the meaningful engagement of patients and families in their care.
  3. For students to establish a context to build skills, learn biomedical science, and develop professionalism attributes toward being a physician.

Faculty and staff planning the new program feel strongly that teaching students how to thrive as members of interprofessional and interdisciplinary teams will improve communication, decrease potential errors, and improve the patient experience. “We are trying to expose our students early to other health professions.  Doing so early in their clinical exposure will form a strong foundation for collaborative care,” says Joseph B. House, M.D., an assistant professor of emergency medicine and faculty lead for the Medical School’s inter-professional education initiatives. “We are creating opportunities to purposefully have these groups interact to better understand those they work with.” Read more.