University of Pittsburgh

Education in the Next Decade

Medical Student Education in the Next Decade
UPSOM Curriculum Committee


The school reaffirms its commitment to provide excellent teaching and to support those who provide teaching efforts. Teaching efforts will be recognized both academically and financially. Educational efforts will be considered as a significant criterion when evaluating faculty for promotion. Clinical departments will develop salary and incentive scales that do not punish those faculty members who experience decreased clinical billing because of time spent teaching.

Methods for evaluating the quality and effectiveness of teaching will continue to be applied. New methods for evaluating teaching will be pursued for the purpose of continually upgrading the educational experience.

Teaching Methods and Technology

Problem-based learning has been successful and its use should be continued and expanded when possible. Current experiences with problem-based learning, however, should be evaluated for effectiveness and content. Where necessary, the present application of problem-based learning should be revised.

The Office of Medical Education will provide assistance for the development of teaching methods that incorporate new technology. Internet and intranet-based communications will be utilized whenever possible. Faculty will be encouraged, and assisted, to place course material and communications on school-based web sites. This will permit better overall integration of the various disciplines and will allow for curriculum-wide surveillance to eliminate redundancy and identify deficiencies in course information.

Directors of courses presented during the clinical years will be encouraged to provide links to the appropriate basic science material, thus ensuring continuity of learning and linear integration of the curriculum.

Basic Sciences

The basic sciences will continue to be presented in an integrated fashion with clinical correlation when appropriate. A small group of faculty will meet regularly to review and update the content and to coordinate the information presented in the various courses. The ability to review scientific literature critically and to analyze experimental design will be emphasized.

Clinical Experience

The clinical exposure of medical students will be thorough, covering all of the traditionally recognized domains of medical practice. When possible, related specialties will be presented as a unit such as clinical neurosciences. Social and ethical issues will be actively presented along with methods and skills for clinical evaluation and management. The students will be introduced to issues of healthcare financing and regulation. The application of current clinical and scientific literature will be stressed as a mechanism ensuring current knowledge.

Recognizing the desire of some students to focus their interests, organized clinical exposure will be introduced as early as possible and early clinical electives offered.

Individualized Programs

The school recognizes that each student may have separate and unique career goals and, when possible, the faculty will encourage students to pursue their goals. Prospective physician scientists will be supported through mentoring by experienced investigators, by summer research opportunities, and, when possible, by ongoing involvement in basic science or clinical research studies.

Organized areas of interest programs will provide students with longitudinal instruction and investigational opportunities. Efforts will be made to expand the available focus areas to meet the interests of the students.

Opportunities for reviewing current basic science and clinical literature will be presented. All students will be encouraged to participate in journal reviews for the dual purpose of exploring career goals and developing skill with critically evaluating scientific literature.

Adopted April 2, 2002