The M Delta Curriculum
The M Delta curriculum delivery methods reflects current practices in health care, focusing more on team-based learning, and less on lecture-style coursework. Our curriculum is built on the theory that good learning is collaborative and social, not competitive and isolated. Active learning, rather than listening to instructors and memorizing content, is assessed by what students will do with the information they learn. Faculty facilitate collaborative group work, allowing students to practice problem solving and the application of knowledge in clinical case-based exercises, reflective of contemporary methods in medicine.
The curriculum includes early and sustained clinical exposure; integration of clinical medicine with the basic sciences over all four years; enhanced use of medical simulation exercises in both gross and virtual anatomy labs; in depth exploration of radiology using state-of-the-art medical imaging; and individualized education with a focus on self-directed learning that respects diverse talents and ways of learning.
The curriculum is divided into three stages:
Exploration Stage 1 lasts for approximately 18 months and follows a launch into the curriculum. The Exploration Stage 1 is centered on a team-based learning (TBL) curriculum that is patient-centered and case-based. Students have a student longitudinal continuity practice (see CLIC below). Laboratory (including cadaver dissection as well as technology enhanced virtual laboratory experiences), simulation and a doctoring course are included in the Exploration Stage. The TBL experiences are supported by ReALM (remote active learning materials). Experiences in interprofessional teams are included in this stage as part of VITAL (Vertically Integrated Teams Aligned in Learning). Stage 1 is comprised of five 10-week blocks. Each block is followed by a twoweek LEAP (Learning Enhancement and Assessment Period). The summer between the third and fourth block is 12 weeks, allowing ample time for research or other explorations.
|COrE (Case Oriented Essentials)
|The Case Oriented Essentials (COrE) Program is a set of 5 courses that use Team Based Learning (TBL) as the main pedagogy for curriculum delivery. The program's primary goal is to present the breadth of health and biopsychosocial science topics using a patient-centered approach incorporating the impact of health and disease on both the individual patient, family, and community. The sequence of index cases and virtual patients integrates aspects of foundational health sciences, organ system physiology and pathophysiology, pharmacology, biostatistics and epidemiology, law and ethics, and clinical medicine during each TBL unit. Each course builds on prior content, allowing the student to apply basic science concepts to understand symptom presentation, mechanisms and patterns of health and disease, and the principles behind therapeutic strategies.
|FabLab (Fabric of Anatomy & Biology Lab)
|The laboratory experience includes Gross Anatomy, Virtual Anatomy, Histology, and early exposure to Radiology and Ultrasound in both the Human Anatomy Lab (HAL) and Virtual Anatomy Lab (VAL). The goal of the Laboratory program is to provide students with fundamental knowledge of the anatomy and microanatomy of all clinically relevant regions and structures within the human body. This knowledge will inform physical examination and clinical reasoning skills. Students will learn to correlate state-of- the-art medical images with anatomy and to recognize pathological changes associated with anatomy. Laboratory experiences will also include physiology experiments.
|DOCC (Delivery of Clinical Care)
|In small groups, students will learn the necessary history, exam, and communication skills to interact with patients and colleagues in this doctoring course. They are provided individual feedback for ultimate growth as a professional by the triad for each group: physician, allied health professional and senior student. The course will be integrated with the other courses in Stage 1 and students will learn and be assessed in the Clinical Skills Center in exercises with patient instructors.
|PACTS (Patient Advocacy in Communities, Teams & Health Systems)
|Within the broad framework of Health Systems Science, PACTS uses an experiential and narrative medicine format to allow students to explore both systems thinking and the patient experience within the health care system, with a goal toward eliminating barriers to health. Threads include social determinants of health, population health, health equity, quality and patient safety, cost-conscious care, the economic impact of health care, communication, team-based collaborative care and the patient experience of coping with chronic illness. Students will be introduced to the spectrum of care and care partnerships available in the community, including public health, mental health, addiction and disabilities services, and meet interprofessional care partners in the workplace, in the home, in facilities, dialysis centers and hospitals. Throughout the course, professional identity development, team skills, alliance building, and the role of the physician as advocate are emphasized.
|CLIC (Clinical Longitudinal Immersion in the Community)
|Students are paired with a physician in an outpatient practice for ½ day each week, allowing the student to interact with actual patients with a focus on primary care. Within a month of starting medical school, students begin practicing the skills that they learn in DoCC in the authentic office environment. This experience lasts for at least the first three years (may be continued during fourth year on an elective basis), allowing for significant personal and professional growth. In the final 6 months of the third year, students may elect to spend time in a subspecialty site
|VITAL (Vertically Integrated Teams Aligned in Learning)
|The Vertically Integrated Teams Aligned in Learning (VITAL) Program prepares students with the skills they need to adapt to emerging issues in medicine/dentistry, public health, and policy that they will encounter in their clinical practice through courses that cover all three stages of the curriculum. The long-term goal of VITAL is to make students better practitioners using health system science and other threads that complement and encompass the practice of medicine and dentistry. These include law and ethics; evidence-based decision-making; interprofessional education; the social determinants of health and health disparities; the health care system and high value care; public and population health. In VITAL Stage 1, students meet once a week and work in teams or small groups to address real-world problems using the skill sets they are developing.
|Scholarship and Discovery
|The overall goal of the course is to prepare students to embrace the breadth of modern scholarship principles and practices integral to their role as future clinicians. Students will build their skills to formulate relevant research questions, design and implement rigorous approaches, collect, and appraise evidence, and develop proficiency in scholarly communication. Students will learn and apply the principles of ethical conduct in research. During Stage 1, all students will become familiar with critical aspects of scholarly work in 7 (including Launch) scheduled workshops. They will prepare a Capstone proposal describing their scholarly project (the Capstone Project) and they will conduct the Capstone Project in Stage 2 and/or 3.
|The course is designed to provide a bridge between the basic sciences and clinical rotations by encouraging the learner to analyze clinical cases involving multiple organ systems with a problem-based learning pedagogy. The learner will gain experience in oral presentations similar to presenting cases on clinical rounds. The learner will gain experience with formation of sound assessments and plans for commonly encountered clinical problems.
|ILOs (Individualized Learning Opportunities)
|During LEAP (Learning Enhancement and Assessment Period), students either engage in reinforcement material to support content or participate in an ILO, or Individual Learning Opportunity, thus individualizing their experience. For students who have demonstrated a gap in knowledge, LEAP provides time and faculty support, and in some cases a re-assessment focused on their particular gap. If the student is cleared for an ILO, this five-day period allows total immersion in specialized topics designed by faculty to promote a deeper dive into a curricular area, support skill building, and/or career exploration. It also allows students the opportunity to have a valuable experience and learn outside of the curriculum, including options in the humanities.
Stage 2 begins with the Clinical Transition period in March/April of the second year. This flexible time consists of time for board study, electives, scholarship, and vacation. Clerkships begin in early May with a one week “Kickoff’ orientation. Radiology is introduced during the Kickoff along with skills training, orientation, and other activities to prepare students for the clinical curriculum. Clerkships are either four or six weeks in length and are organized into four twelve-week pods. There are two required Homeweeks (fall and spring) where students come together at the SOM: the fall Homeweek’s theme is palliative care, while the spring Homeweek focuses on advanced skills to prepare for Stage 3. After the second home week there are eight weeks of “Advanced Clinical”, which provides time for Step 2 board study, electives, scholarship, vacation, and an option to complete a required Stage 3 clerkship if prerequisites are met. VITAL curriculum is threaded within the clerkships and Homeweeks along with other key curricular topics such as patient safety and basic science content.
Stage 3, ‘Transformation’, includes advanced clinical experiences and a transition to residency program. Students complete their capstone scholarly endeavor during Stage 3. Additionally, the curriculum lends itself to peer-to-peer teaching (students teaching students) with many opportunities for senior students to become teaching assistants in Stage 1 courses and highlights the role of doctor as teacher.
At the completion of our curriculum, UConn School of Medicine students will have achieved all of the graduation competencies and be entrusted to proceed to residency training.