This article describes the development, implementation, and evaluation of a curriculum project designed to prepare medical students to care for populations who have Medicaid or a low socioeconomic status (SES). The setting for the project was a community-based medical school, the College of Human Medicine (CHM) at Michigan State University. This article describes a four-year process of curriculum development and offers examples of specific changes that CHM made to courses and clerkships. CHM modified 25% of preclinical courses, five core clerkships of year three, and two clerkships (Senior Surgery and Senior Internal Medicine) of year four. The authors describe highlights of outcomes in student performance, course and clerkship ratings, attitudes, professional goals, student self-assessment of their skills, and feedback from residency program directors. The authors identified four items on the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Graduation Questionnaire as related to the project and tracked them as an outcome measure of student attitudes related to the social responsibility of physicians. Attitudes of the students who experienced the modified curriculum showed greater agreement with AAMC Graduation Questionnaire items than the previous class at CHM and than their classmates across the country. The majority of residency program directors rated CHM graduates as more skilled than their peers in applying cultural competence, working with patients who have Medicaid or a low SES, and using community resources. The authors discuss factors that contributed to the successful implementation of curricular changes as well as challenges to their implementation.
Dr. Turner is professor, Department of Pediatrics and Human Development, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.
Dr. Farquhar is professor, Office of Medical Education, Research and Development and the Institute for Health Care Studies, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.
Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Turner, B227 Clinical Center, 138 Service Road, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824; telephone: (517) 355-2145; fax: (517) 355-8312; e-mail: (Jane.Turner@chm.msu.edu).