In 2012, the College of Medicine at USA revised the educational program by developing an integrated organ systems-based curriculum which emphasizes core competencies. These competencies were established by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education as a platform for medical education and include medical knowledge, patient care, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism and systems-based practice.
In the first two years of medical school, students master each organ system through a combination of lectures, laboratories, active learning sessions, and independent study. Patient-oriented, problem solving sessions are introduced early in the medical school curriculum. For example in studying the respiratory system, the module is designed around five pathophysiological processes affecting the airways: obstructive disease, restrictive disease, pulmonary vascular disease, gas-exchange/acid-base abnomalities and lung immunity and infection. Students begin each week by interviewing patients with one of these diseases and are responsible for reviewing constructed clinical findings that are similar to those of the patients being interviewed. Thus, students interact with actual patients with actual problems not only resulting from their disease, but also from dealing with insurance companies, the medical system and day-to-day living. Lectures, additional patient-oriented active learning sessions, clinical skill laboratories and independent reading assignments then complement the students' understanding of how respiratory diseases are diagnosed, treated and prevented.
During the third and fourth years of training, vertical integration of the curriculum is maintained as topical threads such as laboratory medicine, therapeutics, nutrition, genetics, and aging are a formal part of the clinical clerkship experience. Here, students learn to apply scientific principles to the examination, diagnosis and treatment of human disease in a hospital or other clinical setting.
The video, at right, features first year medical students interacting with a patient during the Respiratory Module.