Transformation in medical education

Over the past 18 months, undergraduate medical education has undergone a major transformation at UofL to better prepare students to become competent and compassionate physicians practicing in the 21st century health-care environment, including extensive renovation of the instructional building. Mirroring national trends, the UofL School of Medicine is moving from a departmental model of basic science education in the first two years to an interdisciplinary, integrated model that focuses on clinicians teaching alongside basic scientists.

A $9.6 million renovation of the instructional building was completed in August 2014, creating two new 180-seat lecture halls, 24 small group teaching rooms, six additional student lounge/study areas, two kitchenettes, and nine small study rooms in the existing facility. New state-of-the-art technology was integrated into the renovated spaces. The Kornhauser Library renovation was completed in spring 2014 and included 10 additional small study rooms for both group and individual use, as well as additional seating for 115 individuals. The library is now open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Educational Program Committee (EPC) and its five subcommittees have driven profound change including:

Academic Year 2014-2015

  • Successful launch of a fully integrated first-year curriculum
  • New problem-based learning curriculum for first- and second-year medical students, providing opportunities for self-directed development of lifelong learning skills
  • New curriculum scheduling guidelines for years one and two that allow for implementation of new pedagogies focused on engaged adult learning, including flipped classrooms, online learning modules via SoftChalk, simulation, independent learning and laboratory sessions
  • Addition of narrative assessment in years 1 and 2 ensures that students receive feedback on their behavior, attitudes, interpersonal skills, interactions with peers and faculty, and professionalism
  • Increased amount of formative feedback in first and second-year courses prior to high stakes exams to allow students sufficient time for remediation
  • New focus on service learning experience that combines community service with reflection to help students explore their role in society as medical professionals
  • Addition of an assistant dean for basic science curriculum, Steve Ellis, Ph.D., and an assistant dean for clinical skills curriculum, Erica Sutton, M.D.

Academic Year 2015-2016

  • Fully integrated second-year curriculum
  • Restructured Introduction to Clinical Medicine 1 and 2 courses
  • New third-year course integrating social and behavioral topics into clinical training
  • Four-year integrated clinical skills program
  • Two-year longitudinal ambulatory rotation for first- and second-year medical students that will incorporate interprofessional learning opportunities
  • Introduction of an LGBT curriculum to address newly released AAMC competencies

To help achieve the goals of integration and evaluation, the School of Medicine now has a fully populated electronic curriculum mapping system/database, RedMed. The curriculum has been cataloged and linked, and is reportable across all four years of required courses at the level of the individual session objective, program objective, core diagnosis/problem, topic, organ system/specialty, and AAMC competency and domain. All of these levels of indexing are reportable and contain the information to allow the Educational Program Committee, its subcommittees, and faculty members to make decisions about curricular content, integration, gaps and redundancies. Also in place are a new assessment database, ExamSoft, and a clinical scheduling and evaluation system, New Innovations.

Significant progress has been made on updating the school’s technology resources in support of medical education. Enhancements to the Wi-Fi infrastructure, and the addition of state-of-the-art, technology-enabled collaborative learning spaces have created an environment where students have easy access to the latest technologies needed to support their education. The Academic Technology Office has launched immediate training enhancements and process improvements in order to be more responsive to the needs of our students, staff and faculty.

The changes to the curriculum have been accompanied by a major shift in the learning environment culture. This culture change is evident in increased collaboration, communication and faculty development as departmental faculty learn to teach within an integrated model. A focus on continuous quality improvement will ensure that the UofL School of Medicine will continue to offer an educationally rewarding experience for students.