From “Why?” to “How” – new curriculum details come into focus at retreat

March 17, 2015  //  FOUND IN: Announcements,

For the better part of two years, faculty, staff and students have been talking about, planning and preparing for the Medical School’s ongoing curriculum transformation.

There has been deep discussion about the importance of Michigan changing its medical student education program, in order to prepare students to lead the changes needed by the health profession and patients. The details emerging from these discussions were the focus of an education community retreat March 13 at the North Campus Research Complex.

Associate Dean for Medical Student Education Rajesh S. Mangrulkar, M.D., reviewed details and information that further explained how the new curriculum would most affect students, and the greater learning community. He used gastrointestinal education as an example, taking the audience through all four years of the proposed program, focusing on learning in the Trunk, Branches and the M-Home learning community.

The architecture of the new curriculum, he said, will connect science to patients throughout all phases, deepen the skill sets of learners, promote flexibility, and facilitate a new core of medical education — an enhanced vision for the graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School.

Mangrulkar’s presentation reinforced this week’s major update to the Curriculum Strategic Planning website. He said the challenge is to be forward thinking and envision what medicine will be like when the first graduates of the new program enter the “sweet spot” of their careers in 15-20 years.

“We are doing this for students and their patients that we (as educators) will never see,” he concluded. He noted that current students involved in the project also are helping to create a future state for their colleagues who will come after them — “the ultimate act of professionalism.”

Attendees rotated through a series of stations on Assessment, the two phases of the Trunk, Branches, Inter-professional Education, Leadership, the M-Home learning community, Paths of Excellence, Technology, and the renovation of the A. Alfred Taubman Health Sciences Library, which is nearing completion. At each stop, they had the opportunity to learn details and to ask questions.

UMMS faculty will vote on the proposed changes online from June 10-24, 2015. Faculty will have the opportunity to learn more at a town hall meeting from 5:30-7:30 p.m. June 3 in Dow Auditorium of the Towsley Center for Continuing Medical Education.

In opening remarks, Medical School leadership reinforced the rationale for changing what has worked at Michigan for more than 160 years.

“We have the privilege of working with incredibly talented men and women, but are we preparing them for the world of 2010 — or 2025?” Dean James O. Woolliscroft, M.D., said. “I am confident we will succeed in this journey because we have very talented, creative and thoughtful faculty, staff and students who are engaged in this journey.”

Senior Associate Dean for Education and Global Initiatives Joseph C. Kolars, M.D., continued the theme of engaging all faculty, staff and students on this journey.

“As the leading public medical school in the United States, we have an obligation to embrace this as a community,” he said. “It is schools like ours that people turn to for problem-solving. This is our moment.”

Kolars challenged the U-M learning community to embrace the coming change, which has been boosted by a $1.1 million grant from the American Medical Association’s “Accelerating Change in Medical Education” initiative. He acknowledged that not all details of implementation plans would be known by the time of the faculty vote this summer. “The details of the new curriculum will be heavily informed by the first phases of the roll-out, which will begin this fall. We’re asking the faculty to vote on the goals and overall direction of the new curriculum, knowing that adjustments will take place over the next four years.”

At the end of the retreat, four students spoke about what the establishment of a new curriculum means to them, as future UMMS graduates.

“Learning how to lead, follow and energize others is so incredibly important to a team,” said Katie Zurales, a first-year student and member of the leadership subcommittee. “We want to teach incoming students about how vital leadership skills are and how important they are to a team.”

Added Jason Pradarelli, a fourth-year student in the M.D./Master of Science in Clinical Research program: “This initiative makes me proud to be a Michigan medical student. You hear about Leaders and Best — this shows that the medical school is practicing what it preaches. This will set the bar for medical student training.”

More details about the curricular transformation can be found at: