Curriculum Management and Governance Structure
♢ Central, coordinated control of the curriculum resides with the Curriculum and Educational Policy Committee (CEPC), which reports to the elected Faculty Council.
♢ Required course and clerkship committees report to the CEPC through their respective directors. In addition, a standing Evaluation Committee reports to the CEPC on issues related to student assessment and program evaluation (Figure 1).
♢ There are five required courses in the first two years of the curriculum of this newly established and newly accredited medical school.
♢ Each of the courses is managed by course committees headed by a course director. The course directors meet monthly or as needed to exchange information and to coordinate course activities. The course directors report regularly to the CEPC.
Office of Education
♢ The Office of Curriculum, Evaluation, and Accreditation is responsible for supporting the development, implementation, and evaluation of the curriculum and for facilitating the assessment of student performance.
♢ The office currently consists of one full-time educator, a director of assessment and evaluation, a full-time educational technology/instructional design professional, and a support staff of eight course coordinators.
♢ The Department of Medical Education is an academic department consisting of 24 full-time basic science educators and physician educators.
♢ The members of the Department of Medical Education are fully supported for their educational roles and devote 80% time and effort to the development and delivery of the curriculum. The remaining 20% is devoted to maintaining their credentials as scholars and as practicing clinicians.
♢ In addition to the faculty members in the Department of Medical Education, the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine (PLFSOM) has nearly 200 full-time clinical faculty members who participate in medical student and resident education.
Budget to Support Medical Education
♢ Because the medical school is new, the state legislature is supporting the school through a multiyear special appropriation.
♢ State “formula” funding will be initiated once the school achieves full capacity of students after 2013.
♢ Additional revenues are provided from the clinical practice plan as determined by the Dean.
♢ The creation of a Department of Medical Education speaks to the value that the institution places on the educational mission and teaching.
♢ The school has created a six-month, 70-hour faculty development program under the direction of the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs. This program involves approximately 18 participants per year.
♢ The Promotion and Tenure Guidelines recently approved by the Faculty of the PLFSOM acknowledge the value of teaching and educational contributions.
♢ Faculty members can be promoted and achieve tenure on the basis of their educational contributions and achievements.
Curriculum Renewal Process
♢ The PLFSOM achieved preliminary accreditation status and admitted its charter class in July 2009.
♢ The school is committed to developing and implementing a highly integrated curriculum organized by organ system and clinical presentations (e.g., the patient with headache). It is also committed to incorporating clinical skills, clinical reasoning, and problem solving into the curriculum from the very beginning of the educational program.
♢ The school is committed to providing students experiences in the community and cultural competency by taking maximal advantage of the unique heritage and health care needs of the United States-Mexico border region.
Learning Outcomes and Competencies
♢ The institution has identified 31 curricular goals or general learning objectives organized by the ACGME competency domains: Patient Care, Medical Knowledge, Professionalism, Interpersonal Communication Skills, Systems-Based Practice, and Practice-Based Learning.
♢ Early clinical experiences occur in community-based clinics committed to a model of community-oriented primary care. These clinics provide medical care to individual patients and are committed to advocacy and community outreach.
♢ Clinical training during the third and fourth years will be provided mainly at University Medical Center (formerly R. E. Thomason Hospital), a community hospital in El Paso.
♢ Opportunities are also available at area private hospital affiliates and at William Beaumont Army Medical Center.
♢ The school is actively involved in the development of third- and fourth-year clinical and clerkship experiences that are consistent with the “scheme inductive” approach to medical education that marks the first two years of the clinical presentation curriculum.
Highlights of the School
♢ Scientific Principles of Medicine: a clinically relevant basic science instruction offered through system-based blocks and taught in the context of approximately 120 clinical presentations (e.g., the patient with abdominal pain) that illustrate how experienced clinicians approach these presentations and that serve as a platform for teaching basic science content and principles necessary for understanding the clinical presentation. This is a two-year longitudinal course.
♢ A Medical Skills course that is highly integrated with Scientific Principles of Medicine course and taught in a state-of-the-art clinical skills and clinical simulation center consisting of 10 fully equipped examination rooms, “partial task trainer” laboratories, high-tech human body simulators, and virtual reality applications.
♢ A commitment to exposing students to community medicine and a population perspective through a two-year Society, Community, and the Individual course consisting of the following conceptual threads: epidemiology; biostatistics; culturally appropriate care; community, family, environmental and occupational health; and Spanish language instruction.
♢ A dual MD/MPH degree option has just been approved in cooperation with the University of Texas Health Sciences Center Houston School of Public Health.
♢ The establishment of learning communities (“Colleges”) led by “Masters,” specially recruited senior basic science and clinician faculty members, who provide mentorship and advising and who teach a weekly course entitled the Masters Colloquium that stresses issues related to professionalism, critical thinking, controversies in medicine, medical ethics, and critical appraisal of the literature.
♢ All students will be required to complete a faculty-mentored Scholarly Activity or Research Project (SARP) as a condition of graduation. For the purposes of this requirement, “scholarship” is defined broadly to consist of basic, clinical, and translational research; epidemiological and population-based studies; community-oriented participatory research; medical education projects; and the medical humanities.