Curriculum Renewal Pre-Review

Timeframe: 2011

  • The final report was issued in September 2011, and reviewed and affirmed by the Medical School Executive Committee (MSEC).

Committee Chairs:

  • Suzanne Allen, MD, MPH - Vice Dean for Regional Affairs
  • Michael Ryan, MD - Associate Dean for Curriculum

Committee Members:

David Acosta, MD - associate dean for Multicultural Affairs
Daniel Benedetti - fourth-year medical student
Courtney Boulton - fourth-year medical student
Jan Carline, PhD - professor, Biomedical Informatics & Medical Education
Kellie Engle - program operations manager, Regional Affairs
Yogesh Khanal - fourth-year medical student
Dennis Kirby - fourth-year medical student
Andrew Luks, MD - assistant professor, Medicine
Ramoncita Maestas, MD - associate professor, Family Medicine
Kathleen Mulligan, PhD - senior lecturer, Biological Structure
Kenneth Roberts, PhD - assistant dean, WWAMI-Spokane
Lorna Shanks - fourth-year medical student
Roger Tatum, MD - associate professor, Surgery
Marjorie Wenrich, MPH - chief of staff, UW Medicine
Mark Whipple, MD, associate professor, Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery

Charge from Dr. Paul Ramsey, UWSOM Dean

  1. Identify, discuss and evaluate broad curricular strengths and areas for improvement, with particular attention to areas identified for improvement in the LCME self-study and report.
  2. Consider approaches to increasing class size in order to meet regional workforce needs, including the advisability of initiating and implementing four-year regional WWAMI campuses.
  3. Identify pragmatic and cost-effective approaches that will minimize extra work for faculty and staff while maximizing quality to develop the scope of the curriculum review to be undertaken.
  4. Engage broadly with faculty, staff, students, and other relevant individuals and groups to assess their perspectives and suggestions concerning the School’s curricular strengths, areas for improvement, and possible expansion approaches, including development and offering four years of medical education at some regional sites.
  5. Develop a rationale, a set of guiding principles, and a proposed approach to a curriculum review, including recommendations concerning the scope of the curriculum review (i.e. limited or broad,  a proposed timeline, etc.).


Using data available from meetings with constituents, interviews across the region, internal data and existing national data sources, the Curriculum Pre-Review Committee identified the following curricular strengths and weaknesses of the overall four year curriculum.
Areas of strength identified in School’s curriculum from existing data included:
  • Diversity of clinical offerings
  • Quality of clinical instruction
  • Introduction to Clinical Medicine course/the Colleges program
  • Mentoring/role modeling
Areas of weakness identified in School’s curriculum from existing data included:
  • Poor integration of basic science and clinical medicine in the preclinical curriculum.
  • Declines in student performance on USMLE scores for Step 1.
  • Insufficient opportunities and preparation for independent learning.
  • Inattention to skills for evaluating and thinking critically about medical information in its contemporary forms.
  • Inadequate standardization of offerings across the WWAMI region in terms of objectives, quality of teaching, and course/elective offerings.
  • Limited alternatives to large-group lectures as the primary preclinical curriculum approach.

Recommended Next Steps

  • Begin a continuous curriculum improvement process, including benchmarks and timelines that allow for ongoing quality improvement.
  • Change the governance structure, with a first step of convening an ongoing “vision” committee that will have the responsibility for oversight of curricular outcomes and the authority to direct the activities of other governance committees.
  • Develop and define overarching curricular goals, objectives and outcomes.
  • Adjust and redesign the curriculum to meet these goals, objectives and outcomes.
  • Focus on a continuum of undergraduate-to-graduate medical education-to-lifelong learning, with meaningful transitions, early clinical exposure, and incorporation of evidence-based medicine.
  • Maintain focus on contextual learning opportunities and needs, including the contemporary clinical context, the scientific, interpersonal, cultural and social contexts, and social responsibility.
  • Incorporate new training foci and modalities into the curriculum, including simulation through WISH, interprofessional education, and information management approaches and systems.
  • Support faculty through faculty development, funding, sufficient time for teaching, and other resources.
  • Appropriately acknowledge the value of teaching, including in the promotion process.