Earlier this month, several of us from the medical school attended the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) annual meeting, which was held in Philadelphia. The meeting provided lots of opportunities for us to discuss best practices with colleagues and to compare our efforts with other medical schools across the country. We came back with some ideas and refinements that we have already incorporated in our planning for our first class for next year.
An area of common interest among all medical schools right now is curriculum mapping, which is the process of aligning curriculum objectives with curriculum content with curriculum assessment. The increasing complexity of medicine coupled with the shift to competency-based education necessitates a much more rigorous approach to curriculum delivery to ensure covering all the knowledge and skills that need to be learned. The process of curriculum mapping requires establishing layers of objectives starting at the highest level of the curriculum, with granular objectives mapped to each individual course and very granular objectives mapped to each individual session. All medical schools are required to do this for continued accreditation, and most medical schools have only recently begun this process. When we compare where we are as a new medical school in our curriculum mapping to where established medical schools are in their progress, it is energizing for us as we have recognized that we are right up there in the vanguard of creating the future of medical education. At the same time, it's also a bit daunting as we realize that there are no schools out in front that we can learn from.
Of all the aspects that a new medical school brings to Kalamazoo, the most exciting is a contemporary model of medical education that better integrates basic sciences and clinical sciences across all four years. Under the framework of eight domains of competencies, our Curriculum Committee has defined our program’s learning objectives in outcome-based terms that allow the assessment of students’ progress in developing the competencies that the profession and the public expect of a physician. Through the work of our faculty, we are on target to have our curriculum developed and mapped to be ready for students in August 2014. We are also incorporating technologies in an innovative way to deliver the curriculum to facilitate learning. It will be an exciting curriculum to be part of, both for our learners and for our educators.