When Lindsey Lane, BM BCh, thinks about medical education,
the term “Model-T” pops into her head. Sure, this old car might be functional,
but few among us would drive it on I-25.
And while she admits her example exaggerates the point, it’s
largely true that the framework surrounding medical education has not advanced
with the times. But that’s about to change, as Dr. Lane and a team of educators*
implement a pilot program called Education in Pediatrics Across the Continuum,
EPAC is a longitudinal, competency-based pediatric curriculum
that spans medical school and residency. The University of Colorado School of
Medicine is one of four schools nationwide chosen to participate in the
Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) program.
Students who began coursework in the fall of 2013 will be
the first to have the opportunity to apply. Four students will be selected to
follow the curriculum that meets traditional learning objectives while
maximizing educational experiences that are important to practicing children’s
The curriculum is designed for flexibility: Students can
tailor their experiences to meet their career goals in pediatrics while
demonstrating competency and meeting milestones according to the individual’s
specific learning needs.
Longitudinal Experiences Help Facilitate Meaningful Interactions
Students will be given the chance to develop strong and
long-standing relationships with patients, peers and supervisors. As the
learner meets objectives and demonstrates capabilities in the classroom and
through workplace-based assessment (such as direct observation and regular
clinical evaluations), he or she will be progressively given more
responsibility and entrustment for care. Dr. Lane believes that students will
benefit from experiencing the contextual nature of medicine, giving them the
tools they need to understand how to partner with patients and families in a
way that improves health care satisfaction and outcomes.
The enhanced curriculum also helps facilitate a partnership
between students and faculty, offering unique opportunities for oversight,
mentorship and collaboration.
Dr. Lane believes that medical students will be better
prepared for residency and ultimately, for practice.
“EPAC provides a meaningful way for students to focus the
work they have to do,” said Dr. Lane. “Longitudinal clinical experience gives
students more of a chance of seeing what they are learning in context with
patients. As they follow these patients and provide increasing levels of care,
learners will be a valuable part of their patient’s evolution of care—for the
benefit of the individual patient, their families and the entire health care
Dr. Lane and the EPAC team will continue to educate and
promote the program to students and faculty. So far, more than 30 students have
expressed interest in learning more about EPAC.
*The EPAC team includes Jenny Soep, MD and Carol Okada, MD (Co-Directors);
Adam Rosenberg MD; Celia Kaye, MD; and Doug Jones, MD (Advisory Group) and Jan Hanson,
PhD; Gretchen Guiton, PhD; and Jennifer Gong, PhD (Evaluation Group).