Curricular threads represent the integration of critical content throughout the entirety of the undergraduate medical school curriculum for topics that are not the primary focus of a particular course or clerkship but are fundamental to the practice of medicine. For example, awareness of social determinants impacting health care delivery and outcomes is material that is not the subject of a single course but is crucial to provide effective care for patients. Given their importance these topics do not merely exist as standalone workshops or lectures, but are woven into the fabric of our entire curriculum.
Content within each thread is developmentally sequenced and incorporated within courses and clerkships throughout the curriculum. The thoughtful sequencing of content and assessment and the transparency of threads provides continuity of subject matter and allows careful monitoring of thread function.
Thread leaders work closely with the course directors, clerkship directors, curriculum deans, and others to establish the learning objectives, instructional strategies, and assessment methods for their topic across the entire undergraduate medical education curriculum.
Health Equity and Advocacy Thread
The burden of illness is disproportionately higher in certain groups and communities in ways which are not related to underlying genetics or biology, but instead are reflective of inequalities in the distribution of money, resources, and power.
Race or ethnicity, sex, sexual identity, disability, geographic location, and socioeconomic status are potential contributing factors to heath care disparities. The Health Equity and Advocacy thread will address such social determinants of health. The objective of this thread is to examine best practices for individual health care providers, health care institutions, and health organizations to achieve health equity using approaches that identify and mitigate individual and system-level biases. The tread will aim to help students navigate their professional identify development and to effectively advocate both for their individual patients and their communities.
Health System Science Thread
Health systems science encompasses the principles and practice of improving quality, costs, and outcomes of healthcare delivery for patients and populations within healthcare systems. Domains include patient safety, quality improvement, population health, value, systems-thinking, evidence-based medicine, and clinical informatics. The thread will aim to help prepare students to become physicians who recognize how patients and populations access and receive care in today's complex health care networks.
Our thread leaders not only bring the requisite knowledge to create a curriculum, but more importantly, they bring the hands-on experience and passion required to meaningfully engage students and highlight the value of this content in providing effective care for patients.