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In July 2017, the Faculty Executive Committee of DGSOM voted to launch an initiative to redesign the entire medical school curriculum. In launching the initiative, the FEC formed a partnership with my team in the Dean’s Office to move this initiative forward. Since the last substantive overall, circa 2002, much has changed in medicine, including notable future trends such as precision medicine, health care delivery science, and more. Despite the solid success of our current curriculum, made possible through the extraordinary commitment of dozens of faculty and staff, we recognized the need to revisit in a more substantive way the core principles and structures of our program.
“A dominant theme emerged that was reinforced at the retreat itself: the need for substantive curricular change, with the goal to better align the current program with our goals as an academic institution."- Clarence H. Braddock III, MD, MPH, MACPVice Dean for Education, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
In many ways, the journey began in early 2014, when education was the topic for the annual Dean’s Leadership Retreat. In structured interviews conducted before the retreat, a dominant theme emerged that was reinforced at the retreat itself: the need for substantive curricular change, with the goal to better align the current program with our goals as an academic institution. From that point forward, the Medical Education Committee (MEC), FEC, and Dean’s Office education team engaged in deep and purposeful exploration and discussion of the future of our MD program.
Clarence H. Braddock III, MD, MPH, MACP
Several task forces were formed, to explore emerging trends in teaching and learning and identify new curricular areas. This inquiry yielded many fabulous new ideas, but also led to the sobering realization that our current curriculum structures made it difficult to introduce new elements into a very packed program. The opening of Geffen Hall in early 2017, with its many innovative teaching spaces, further stirred interest in curricular transformation.
All these trends led the FEC, in August 2017 to approve the launch of a process to develop a model new curriculum for all four years of the MD program, steeped in the principle of Shared Governance, and conducted with broad input from faculty, staff, students, patients, and community.
The purpose of this site is to provide updates to our DGSOM community about our progress, including sharing supporting documents and reports, to solicit your input, and to engage you in the important work that lies ahead. We look forward to this extraordinary opportunity to create a new curriculum for the future of medicine.
Sincerely,Clarence H. Braddock III, MD, MPH, MACP Professor of Medicine Maxine and Eugene Rosenfeld Chair in Medical Education Vice Dean for Education, DGSOM Chief Medical Education Officer, UCLA Health System
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The MD curriculum redesign steering committee has held several meetings defining the focus of Phase I of the redesign effort, “Defining Our Purpose." The group recognized the importance of initiating a community conversation to clarify and reach shared understanding of the defining purpose of our MD program.
The steering committee’s thinking on this was shaped by a provocative Ted talk by management theorist, Simon Sinek. Sinek’s talk described the “golden circle,” a model that describes how organizations always know what they do, and how they do it, but rarely gain a shared understanding of why. Sinek suggests, and the Steering Committee believes, that clarity on this why question will guide in the deliberation of the what and how.
Learn more about the steering committee →
Since the beginning of the new year, we have been continuing conversations far and wide about the defining purpose of our medical school’s education program (our “why”), the answer to which is the critical foundation for our curriculum redesign effort. We’ve had the opportunity to hear from faculty, students, and staff, in multiple venues. We’ve presented at Town Halls with staff and students, meetings with student leadership, departmental faculty meetings, faculty retreats and more. Many of you have also written to us with valuable suggestions and reflections, and we’ve enjoyed the many informal “elevator” conversations and sharing of ideas. Finally, we’ve been in regular communication with our Medical Education Committee (MEC) and Faculty Executive Committee (FEC), providing updates and soliciting input and support.
In addition to this internal conversation, we’ve been engaging in conversation with colleagues at several peer institutions, including Harvard, University of Michigan, NYU, Vanderbilt, University of Washington, University of Vermont, and others, about their own approach to curriculum redesign, not to emulate, but to learn from their insights into the process. In the end, we need to design a new curriculum that uniquely aligns with our values and goals.
The Steering Committee is nearing completion on the structure of Working Groups that will guide the next phase of the process, in which we seek to turn emerging themes into design elements for our new curriculum. Once finalized, we will announce them and begin to populate the Working Groups with interested faculty, staff, students, and others.
To facilitate the ongoing conversation and as a way to engage you in the next stages in the process, we’re pleased to announce the launch of a new website. The site will provide regular updates, access to source documents that we have been consulting along the way, and copies of presentations given. In addition, the site has a feature that enables you to give your own commentary about “why” and to sign up for more formal participation in the stages to follow. We hope you will visit the website, early and often. The link is below:
Like any significant change effort, this curriculum redesign initiative is both exciting and daunting. We now have significant momentum in defining the values and principles that shall be our guide, and with that we are on the right trajectory towards success.
Clarence H. Braddock III, MD, MPH, MACP Professor of Medicine Maxine and Eugene Rosenfeld Chair in Medical Education Vice Dean for Education, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Chief Medical Education Officer, UCLA Health System
Gary Schiller, MD, FACP Professor of Medicine Director, Hematological Malignancies/Stem Cell Transplantation Unit Immediate Past-Chair, Faculty Executive Committee David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
As we move forward with our work on curriculum redesign for the medical school, I wanted to thank all of you for your comments and input to date. Beginning with the conversation we had at the Executive Advisory Committee a little over a month ago, I’ve been grateful for the many insightful email messages, conversations in the hallway/parking lot, and more that I’ve enjoyed. These rich interactions are helping to make this important phase of the process, finding our “why,” as comprehensive and inclusive as it needs to be. To that end, I have an additional request of you.
Beginning in early 2018, the members of the Steering Committee and I would like to seek opportunities to share with your faculty the current state of our thinking, and invite them the opportunity to offer their own reflections and thoughts.
Gary Schiller, MD Immediate Past-Chair, FEC Co-Chair Curriculum Redesign Steering Committee
"The purpose of the “why” is to define what unique values of scholarship the graduate of DGSOM will bring to a lifetime of patient care and clinical inquiry. From that sense of purpose we shall develop our mission that will be translated to our policies of admissions, our curriculum, and our research purpose, and all the facets of the School of Medicine"- Gary Schiller, MDCo-Chair Curriculum Redesign Steering Committee
Not only will this increase the number of great insights and ideas, but will also increase the level of engagement by our faculty in the curriculum redesign process in particular, and medical student education more broadly - perhaps the greater goal of this effort. As an example, we have prepared a brief presentation that could be delivered at departmental grand rounds or faculty meetings, including the short Simon Sinek video, which could be followed by an open conversation about the “why.” Such sessions would also stimulate more conversation around the proverbial “water cooler,” furthering our work in this important phase. I have become even more convinced that if we can get a clearer community consensus on “why,” we can develop a new curriculum that goes beyond mere rearrangement to a more fundamental and purposeful transformation of the educational experience that resonates with and advances our values.
I’m writing to give you a brief update on our progress on curriculum redesign for our MD program. Since launching the effort last summer, the Dean’s Office and FEC leadership have been quite active. We formed a Steering Committee, consisting of MD program leaders, FEC leaders, and the Co-Chairs of our Medical Education Committee (MEC), the subcommittee of FEC with direct oversight of the MD curriculum.
Members of the Curriculum Redesign Steering Committee are listed below:
The steering committee has held several meetings defining the focus of Phase I of the redesign effort, “Defining Our Purpose." The group recognized the importance of initiating a community conversation to clarify and reach shared understanding of the defining purpose of our MD program. It is of course obvious that the purpose is to prepare future physicians, but the deeper question is why are we training future physicians. What is our aspiration for our graduates? How will our training of future physicians impact health and health care? The steering committee’s thinking on this was shaped by a provocative Ted talk by management theorist, Simon Sinek. Sinek’s talk described the “golden circle,” a model that describes how organizations always know what they do, and how they do it, but rarely gain a shared understanding of why. Sinek suggests, and the Steering Committee believes, that clarity on this why question will guide in the deliberation of the what and how.
Watch the talk
Guided by this “why” question, the Steering Committee has launched a community conversation, soliciting views from faculty, staff, students, and leaders on this question. We’ve discussed this at town halls, student council meetings, the UCLA Health Executive Advisory Council, and more. The conversation will continue, and has already yielded several emerging themes. The Steering Committee has also begun reviewing important papers from the literature on promising new thought in medical education, several recent Task Force reports commissioned by MEC, and the Education Strategic Narrative, a guiding document written for members of the education team.
Our next step is to collate and analyze all the views on why from the DGSOM community, with the goal of identifying cross-cutting themes that will guide deeper exploration in Phase II, “Translating Themes into Design Elements.” We will organize several working groups, each tied to one of these emerging themes, which we hope to finalize over the next few weeks. Shortly before the holiday break, we anticipate offering an invitation to the community to join these working groups. Beginning in January 2018, the working groups will begin their deliberation, each charged to identify design elements that would advance the goal articulated by the theme.
The work on Curriculum Redesign to date has been lively and engaging for the entire DGSOM community, and aligns well with broader efforts within the Strategic Plan Refresh. Both efforts represent an important “step back” to reflect on our organizational values and priorities, a process that can reaffirm the deeper purpose of what we do, and guide our path for years to come. We have a lot of work ahead, but are off to an exciting start!
For those interested in learning more about the Curriculum Redesign effort, please feel free to write to me or other members of the Steering Committee, and stay tuned for the launch of a website that will track the effort, give access to important source documents, and enable members of the community to submit thoughts and questions to the process.
Summer 2017 – Launch Curriculum Redesign, Form Steering Committee Fall 2017 - Phase I: “Defining Our Purpose; Our Why” Early 2018 - Phase I continues, expanding the conversation Winter-Spring 2018 – Phase II: “Translating themes into design element: from why to what” April 2018 - MEC Retreat Summer 2018 – Phase III: Design; from what to how” Academic year 2020 - Design to implementation Summer 2020 (tentative) - Launch new curriculum with medical school class matriculating 2020
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Task Force Reports