HMSOM Faculty Demonstrate How They Built The Entire HMSOM Curriculum Driven By The School’s Vision, In New Paper   

HMSOM Faculty Demonstrate How They Built The Entire HMSOM Curriculum Driven By The School’s Vision, In New Paper

HMSOM Curriculum Vision

Medical schools need to be socially responsive and change with evolving times to produce the best healers possible.

The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine (HMSOM), which admitted its first students in 2018 and has trained hundreds of new doctors, has demonstrated a new way of doing things, according to a new paper in the journal Clinical Teacher, a Wiley publication.

The HMSOM developed its entire curriculum, shared in the paper using the using a layered analysis method, founded on its ideals of improving medicine, including access and health equity for all, according to the paper.

“HMSOM’s curriculum offers insight into how it is possible to have social accountability serve as the mission of the institution and be realized comprehensively across all educational efforts at the school,” write the authors.

“In short, we illustrate how the social accountability mission of a medical school can act as the central guiding force informing all aspects of the medical school - from the content of the curriculum to the structure of the educational program,” adds the group, consisting of: Vice Dean Miriam Hoffman, M.D.; Keith Metzger, Ph.D., the associate dean of Medical Education; and Ofelia Martinez, M.D., MPH, the assistant dean of Medical Education.

The publication describes a three-part philosophy which underpins six principles, which in turn lay the groundwork for the curriculum at HMSOM.

The philosophies are: (1) medical education should be designed to meet society’s needs and challenges; (2) that the curriculum and education workings should be intentionally implemented to address these needs, which in the United States include poor quality, health inequities, and high cost; and (3) the structure of the education should be designed to most effectively leverage resources for students’ growth.

The principles follow that: the determinants of health broadly should inform and frame the curriculum; a longitudinal community-engaged program should be a core aspect of the curriculum; medical training should focus on higher order cognitive skills and adaptive expertise to account for ever-growing medical knowledge; future physicians have a responsibility to improve the determinants of health at all levels, from the individual to population level; fostering a diverse physician workforce will optimize patient care; and the educational program should be individualized to meet the needs and goals of each student.

One example of this is how the first principle drives the years of education. The social determinants are inextricably woven through the curricular content. This includes: patient presentation PBL Curriculum (PPPC) to map determinants health onto each weekly case for all the sciences before clerkships; the Human Dimension sends students out into the community for service learning with community partners; the pre-clerkship learning is entirely integrated, spanning biomedical, behavioral, social, and health systems sciences; the clerkship year is itself similarly an integrated whole, to incorporate all the focus areas; and built into the entire structure are mechanisms to prevent and eliminate silos so gaps are addressed and rectified over the course of the years of education.

“Techniques throughout the curriculum promote the development of students’ ability to integrate all Determinants of Health in their clinical reasoning and patient care,” the authors add.

This paper describes how the developers and faculty of the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine leveraged their “blank slate advantage” as they built the school comprehensively driven by their vision and mission. The paper, using the layered analysis method, supports the transfer of this work to other schools and contexts.

Read more of their methods here.

This paper follows another publication by an HMSOM team describing the individualization of the medical school program, as described in the principles above, to achieve competency-based learning which appeared in the journal Medical Education Online in April.

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