A Guide in the Trek Curriculum
Shanta Zimmer, MD, Senior
Associate Dean for Education
In the Trek Curriculum,
students will have the opportunity to work with health professionals in a
variety of classroom and clinical settings. Aligned with several of the guiding
values for curriculum reform (longitudinal relationships, growth-mindset,
vitality and well-being, outcomes based, and individualization), the COMPASS
program supports each student by pairing them with a trusted faculty member,
their COMPASS guide. The mission of the program is to inspire and support
students in maximizing their personal and professional potential.
What does COMPASS stand for?
How will a COMPASS Guide work with students?
Each student in the
Trek curriculum will have a COMPASS guide –a faculty member who can facilitate
self-reflection and approach a student’s individual development with a growth mindset.
These guides will have a set number of students each year and will work with
this cohort throughout their training in medical school. Guides will serve as
small group facilitators for Health and Society content in the Plains and meet
regularly with each student to provide feedback and coaching. . This structure creates
devoted and focused time for the guide and student to foster their own unique
The COMPASS guide is
not meant to be the student’s only support, but rather the anchor in a “Web of
Support.” As a student progresses through their medical career, they will add
connections to their web—their preceptors, clinical team members, mentors for scholarly
pursuits, and career advisors. By having an established COMPASS guide, students
will have a primary point of contact to assist
with reflecting and learning from their experiences, connecting with
additional supports when necessary, and exploring
career paths and opportunities.
Because this type of coaching
is going to be critical to students as they embark on their medical education,
there have been certain time periods set aside in the curriculum for students
to meet with their guide and focus on the other aspects of COMPASS. During the
first year, or the Plains, students will have five designated COMPASS weeks interspersed
between the blocks specifically designed to focus on the goals of the COMPASS
program. During these weeks, students
will take cumulative assessments to gauge their progress, meet with their guide
to review their progress and consider future steps, and have time for mindful
reflection and self-directed learning. In addition, these weeks contain 2 days of
unstructured time for individualized pursuits—whether to pursue academic
interests or to focus on well-being.
These weeks will allow students to reflect upon their individual
wellbeing, their current academic status, and prepare mentally and academically
for their path ahead.
The COMPASS program
will ultimately replace the current Advisory College Program (ACP). As compared to ACP, COMPASS includes a much
broader role for the Guides with an emphasis on longitudinal relationships with
smaller groups of students, meaningful teaching roles, and comprehensive
assessment and coaching. We will be
piloting some COMPASS content during the hybrid with a plan for full role out
in the Trek curriculum. The School of
Medicine anticipates the applications for these positions to be available late
2020. For more information on the COMPASS program please contact Tai
Recent Website Questions:
Q: Are we, as a medical school, pursuing change for the sake
of innovation or changing to have a more effective training experience and
curriculum? What are the quality measurement points of LICs vs block
In the research conducted by Dr. David Hirsh at Harvard, the
quantitative data, such as exam scores, is similar between block clerkships and
Longitudinal Integrated Clerkships. However, the qualitative data that was
collected demonstrates that LIC programs create an increase in empathy, an
increase in patient centeredness, and a decrease in student burnout.
Q: With the implementation of the new Trek Curriculum, has
the School of Medicine considered using EPAs to measure student benchmarks?
Yes! The School of Medicine will be using the AAMC core EPAs
for entering residency in the Trek curriculum.
These EPAs will be a key component of our expected outcomes for CUSOM
graduates and will form the bulk of the clinical assessments of students.