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Curriculum Reform

January Curriculum Reform Update


Quick Questions about Curriculum Reform 

January 2020

Shanta Zimmer 

Shanta Zimmer, MD, Senior

Associate Dean for Education

January of 2020 not only starts a new semester in the School of Medicine but a new decade as well. During these next few years, the Trek curriculum will be implemented with the assistance of various pilot programs, dedicated faculty, hardworking staff and our students who are eager to learn. 

To start off the New Year, we would like to answer some of the questions that we have received through our online form. This anonymous form is found on the curriculum reform website and allows for the submission of any and all questions. We welcome questions from any student, staff, faculty member or campus guest to help provide clarity and insight into the work being done by the School of Medicine. We look forward to hearing from you! 

Will summer discovery periods continue to exist to allow for teaching assistant opportunities for School of Medicine students?

Yes, students will have a summer discovery period, albeit a shortened one. We are working with students from the global health and research tracks, as well as their directors to facilitate continued summer experiences for all of our students. The longer space in the third and fourth years for dedicated research time will result in an overall increased amount of individualized training time for our students in the Trek. 

Will the advanced science curriculum also be set up by chief complaint?

The development Trek curriculum aims to have scientific elements embedded throughout all phases of a medical student’s education. The development of the advanced sciences courses is being done with the structure of the basic science courses in mind. Having a parallel between these two portions of the curriculum will allow for the science element to be reinforced and provide the learner with the opportunity to revisit what they learned at the beginning of their medical school career and gain a deeper understanding of concepts that they will have been exposed to through the clinical space. There will be closer alignment with chief concerns in a spiraling fashion in future iterations of the Trek, however, current pilots of the advanced science courses were created independently with the purpose of testing feasibility of these experiences for students and faculty. 

Is it possible to create a clinical presentation around a case of blindness from common causes?

Our clinical content directors are working diligently to identify opportunities for the students to combine their understanding of basic science elements and their clinical experiences. There are many different concepts or chief complaints that could lead students to explore a variety of symptoms and diagnoses. Blindness is not currently a clinical presentation but this is a great suggestion and fits well with the integration of health systems science and clinical pillars. In addition to learning about the basic science behind the eye, vision and the visual cortex, discussion of a clinical condition around blindness could include learning about resources available to patients with visual impairment, as well as in depth training around the ophthalmologic and neurologic exams.  

What other schools have undergone a recent curriculum reform effort similar to the future LIC program in Trek?

Medical schools throughout the country have undergone a partial or full curriculum reform as the needs of their students and communities evolve. The case for change is echoed by the CU School of Medicine as new scientific breakthroughs are made and teaching methods advance to produce better learners and new leaders. 

Many schools who have made the change to LICs have been part of the AMA Educational Innovations program. The list provided below is a compilation of some of the Medical Schools that have made changes to their teaching formats to include partial or full elements of the LIC model:   ​​

​​Central Michigan University

Duke (Primary Care LIC)

Florida Atlantic University

Harvard University

Imperial College, London

Medical College of Wisconsin

University of British Columbia

University of California: San Francisco

University of Michigan

University of Minnesota

University of Nevada: Las Vegas

University of North Carolina

University of South Dakota

University of Washington



Yale University


 ​New basic science course directors and content directors were named this month. Welcome, congratulations and thank you for your commitment to our educational innovation. 

Course Directors:

General Principles: Lisa Lee, PhD

Hematology: Tim Garrington, MD

Cardiovascular/Pulmonary:  Jim Lavelle, MD

Skin/Musculoskeletal: Frank Scott, MD

Neurology/Psychiatry: Maureen Stabio PhD, and Abraham Nussbaum, MD

Renal: Alkesh Jani, MD

Gastrointestinal: John Tentler, PhD

Endocrinology: Jennifer Woods, MD

Reproductive: Andy Bradford, PhD

Content Directors:

Immunology: JJ Cohen, MD, PhD

Microbiology: Bruce McCollister, MD

Pharmocology: Tom French, PhD and Matt Zuckerman, MD

Physiology: Bill Sather, PhD

Pathology: Nichole Draper: MD

Biochemistry: Michael Yeager, PhD

Anatomy: Danielle Royer, PhD