SOM Program Objectives

SOM Program Objectives


The educational program objectives of the University of Louisville School of Medicine were approved originally in 2004.  This document reflects revisions made during Academic Year 2009-2010, with input from Course Directors, as approved by the Educational Policy Committee on April 7, 2010.

There are fifty-seven [57] educational objectives, organized around the following 8 themes:

  1. Professionalism
  2. Scientific Foundations of Clinical Practice
  3. Information Management and Critical Thinking
  4. Problem Solving and Decision Making
  5. Clinical Skills
  6. Communication
  7. Economics of Medicine and Health Care Delivery Systems
  8. Social, Cultural and Community Contexts of Health


It is important to note that many of the individual program objectives support more than one theme.  For example, “active listening with ethnic, racial, and cultural sensitivity” could be identified with both the Communication or Clinical Skills themes; similarly, “the ability to use evidence-based medicine to formulate a comprehensive differential diagnosis, direct a diagnostic workup effectively and efficiently, develop a management plan, and oversee its implementation” could be identified with both the Problem-Solving and Decision Making and the Scientific Foundations of Clinical Practice themes.  For the purposes of ease of use, each objective is listed only once – under the theme with which it is MOST highly associated. In addition, each objective is aligned with the ACGME competency with which it is most closely linked (see below):


ACGME Core Competencies:

  1. Patient Care
  2. Medical Knowledge
  3. Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  4. Professionalism
  5. Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
  6. Systems-Based Practice

UofL Educational Objectives Linked to ACGME Themes

1. Professionalism

  • 1.1    The ability to care for patients in a compassionate way, consistently demonstrating respect for the privacy and dignity of all patients [ACGME 3]
  • 1.2    The ability to consistently and dependably carry out duties with honesty, personal integrity, self-motivation and self-discipline. [ACGME 3]
  • 1.3    The ability to confront their own values as they relate to the practice of medicine. [ACGME 3]
  • 1.4    Demonstrate personal manners, dress, grooming, speech, and interpersonal skills expected of a medical professional. [ACGME 3]
  • 1.5    Knowledge of the theories and principles that govern ethical decision making. [ACGME 4]
  • 1.1    Knowledge of the major ethical dilemmas in medicine, particularly those that arise at the beginning and end of life and those that arise from the rapidly expanding field of genetics. [ACGME 4]
  • 1.2    Knowledge of a physician’s responsibilities to protect and care for individuals and populations that are vulnerable, at risk, or disadvantaged. [ACGME 4]
  • 1.3    The ability to understand legal and ethical issues such as informed consent, malpractice, conflict of interest and confidentiality. [ACGME4]  
  • 1.9   The ability to accept constructive performance feedback and develop an action plan for improvement. [ACGME 3]
  • 1.10 A commitment to lifelong learning. [ACGME 3]

2. Scientific Foundations of Clinical Practice

  • 2.1    Knowledge of the normal structure and function of the human body at the level of the molecule, cell, organ/organ system, and patient as a whole. [ACGME 2]
  • 2.2    Knowledge of normal growth and development throughout all life stages. [ACGME 2]
  • 2.3    Knowledge of the basic biomedical and psychosocial mechanisms of disease, including key genetic, environmental, microbiologic, nutritional, immunologic, social and epidemiological factors. [ACGME 2]
  • 2.4    Broad knowledge of the common diseases that affect specific age, sex and ethnic backgrounds for the major organ systems. [ACGME 2]
  • 2.5    Knowledge of drugs used in the management of medical conditions. [ACGME 2]
  • 2.6    The ability to apply basic science knowledge to the care and treatment of patients. [ACGME 2]

3. Information Management and Critical Thinking

  • 3.1    The ability to frame a question, search the literature, organize data, and compile and use information to care for a patient. [ACGME 1]
  • 3.2  The ability to access and utilize the full range of information resources available to   physicians, including library resources; key professional texts and journals; and information resources available electronically such as the World Wide Web, data bases, email, a PDA and other media. [ACGME 5]
  • 3.3    An understanding of applied biostatistics and clinical epidemiology and how these disciplines are used to evaluate information critically, conduct formal decision analysis and design research. [ACGME 5]
  • 3.4    An understanding of how clinical trials are designed, implemented and analyzed.[ACGME 5]
  • 3.5    The ability to utilize decision-support systems and guidelines for clinical decision-making, including an understanding of the roles of preferences and probabilities. [ACGME 1]
  • 3.6    The ability to evaluate independently the accuracy and significance of the information one obtains from any source, but especially studies reported or summarized in the medical literature. [ACGME 1]

4.  Problem Solving and Decision Making

  • 4.1   The ability to identify, prioritize, evaluate key information from a patient’s clinical history. [ACGME 1]
  • 4.2   The ability to use evidence-based medicine to formulate a comprehensive differential diagnosis, direct a diagnostic workup effectively and efficiently, develop a management plan, and oversee its implementation. [ACGME 1]
  • 4.3   The ability to retrieve, interpret and manage data from diagnostic tests and clinical procedures for decision making. [ACGME 2]
  • 4.4  The ability to use consultants effectively in a team approach to patient care. [ACGME 1]
  • 4.5  An understanding of the role of practice guidelines in caring for patients. [ACGME 1]


5. Clinical Skills

  • 5.1   The ability to effectively and efficiently perform a history and physical examination that is appropriate for age, gender, culture, region and clinical setting. [ACGME 1]
  • 5.2   The ability to generate and maintain appropriate medical records, including history and physical, discharge summaries, procedure notes, and prescriptions. [ACGME 5]
  • 5.3    The ability to recognize and manage life-threatening situations and carry out or direct ACLS/CPR. [ACGME 1]
  • 5.4    An understanding of the scientific foundation for diagnostic tests and their risks and benefits. [ACGME 2]
  • 5.5    An understanding of how patient competency and guardianship are determined. [ACGME 2]
  • 5.6     The ability to recognize elder, child, and partner abuse, including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. [ACGME 1]
  • 5.7   The ability to perform common medical procedures such the placement/care of sutures for small incisions/wounds or the application of splints/bandages etc. [ACGME 1]
  • 5.8 Knowledge of the appropriate use of common medical devices (such as vascular  catheters, endotracheal tubes, NG Tubes). [ACGME 1]
  •  5.9  Demonstrate sterile technique and universal precautions. [ACGME 1]

6. Communication

  • 6.1  Active listening with ethnic, racial, and cultural sensitivity. [ACGME 3]
  • 1.2  The ability to give accurate, clear, concise oral presentations. [ACGME 1]
  • 1.3  The ability to write, including electronic patient records, accurate, clear, concise patient records, including history and physicals, progress notes, orders and referrals for consultation. [ACGME 1]
  • 6.4  The ability to begin a patient encounter, elicit key information, educate and advise, and end the encounter, conveying sensitivity, compassion and concern. [ACGME 1]  
  • 6.5  The ability to communicate effectively with a dying patient and their family about advance directives and other end of life issues. [ACGME 1]
  • 6.6  The ability to deliver bad news and respond effectively to patient/family responses. [ACGME 1]
  • 6.7  The ability to discuss medical errors in ways that promote patient trust, understanding and self learning. [ACGME 1]
  • 6.8  The ability to work and communicate effectively and professionally as part of a health care team, with appreciation for the contributions and competencies of other health care professionals and respect for their unique roles, regardless of degree, occupation, or perceived status. [ACGME 1]
  • 6.9  The ability to recognize the uncertainty and anxiety experienced by patients and family dealing with acute and chronic illness. [ACGME 1]

7.  Economics of Medicine and Health Care Delivery Systems

  • 7.1  An understanding of the inherent conflict between traditional professional values and imperatives of the market. [ACGME 6]
  • 7.2   Knowledge of the social and political forces that have shaped the medical profession in the U.S. [ACGME 6]
  • 7.3   Knowledge of how healthcare is currently financed and how resources are allocated. [ACGME 6]
  • 7.4  Knowledge of the pros and cons of the various forms of managed care; of the ethical, legal and professional challenges raised by balancing cost and quality. [ACGME 6]
  • 7.5   A commitment to utilize resources appropriately to provide optimal care. [ACGME 6]
  • 7.6  The ability to apply basic principles of continuous quality improvement to medical practice. [ACGME 5]

8. Social, Cultural and Community Contexts of Health

  • 8.1  A commitment to promote patient and community health. [ACGME 6]
  • 8.2  An understanding of population-based medicine, broad public health issues and resources. [ACGME 5]
  • 1.3   The ability to educate patients, families, and communities about modifiable risk factors and how to move toward healthy behaviors and lifestyles. [ACGME 1]
  • 1.4   Knowledge of the unique problems facing special populations and specific occupations. [ACGME 1]
  • 1.5   The ability to apply health screening and disease surveillance guidelines. [ACGME 1]
  • 1.6   An understanding of the guidelines for disease prevention through immunization; disease reporting; and other chemical, environmental, and public health procedures. [ACGME 1]