B.A. / M.D. Program

School of Medicine Core Competencies


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Our curriculum utilizes experiences with patients, peers and faculty in clinical settings that develop students who are passionate about medicine. Students learn the skills and attitudes for compassion, honesty and integrity which receive the same priority as scientific and technical skills.

To further develop these skills and attitudes, the School of Medicine uses the following core competencies as the foundation for all educational experiences, as well as the selection of new students.

Interpersonal and communication skills are crucial to a successful doctor-patient relationship. Through immediate and ongoing patient interaction, our students learn to engage with patients, families and other members of the health care team. Our graduates are able to establish a therapeutic relationship with patients, regardless of age or cultural background, and are able to communicate in an effective manner.

It is important for both medical students and graduates to have an acute sense of professional behavior during interactions with others in clinical, academic, and co-curricular activities. Students master the professional behaviors of respect, compassion and empathy, altruism, honesty, excellence and accountability. In addition, our students are taught the value of moral reasoning and ethical judgment and learn to identify ethical issues in medicine, evaluate ethical choices, and recommend and defend those choices. Our graduates have the ability to recognize individual patient value systems, while integrating moral reasoning and ethical judgment in the care of patients without compromising their own ethical integrity.

The medical knowledge students gain during their four years of medical training allows our graduates to apply both basic and clinical science to understand, explain and solve complex, multi-system problems. Our students receive four years of outstanding clinical education that sets them apart from other medical school graduates, allowing our students greater opportunity to evaluate problems from multiple perspectives and to identify an appropriate and rational solution to address those problems. Additionally, our graduates are able to apply the knowledge, skills and concepts from all scientific perspectives to overall patient care.

By acquiring practice-based learning and improvement skills, including how to access and evaluate medical information, students learn how to provide effective up-to-date patient care. Learning how to use evidence-based medicine and skills related to patient safety and continuing quality improvement furthers students’ development into graduates competent in practice-based learning.

Through systems-based practice, our graduates are able to actively incorporate psychological, social, cultural and economic factors that influence both individual patients and communities. Our graduates have an increased awareness of the role diversity plays in the context of health care, and use this awareness to benefit patients and serve as better health advocates.

Through a variety of teaching and learning strategies, students acquire the attitudes, knowledge and skills required for patient care through time-honored data gathering methods of history-taking and the physical examination, appropriate use and interpretation of tests, identification and in some instances administration of needed procedures, formulation of diagnoses and companion management plans using clinical reasoning and problem-solving skills and provision of patient education. They learn how to care for the full range of patient problems – acute, chronic, emergent, preventative, rehabilitative – in inpatient, outpatient and continuing care settings.