Columbia's Medical School Creates a New Curriculum

Preparing Physicians for the Future: A Program in Medical Education

From 1990 to 1996, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons made major revisions to its curriculum. This initiative was the first major curricular revision for the college since 1970.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) national program Preparing Physicians for the Future: A Program in Medical Education.

Key Results: Under the grant, the college accomplished the following:

  • Established several high-level positions to implement changes in governance.
  • In 1992–93, introduced a clinical practice course for first-year students, and for second-year students in 1993–94. The course integrates instruction in population and behavioral sciences.
  • In 1992–93, launched its Primary Care Elective Program, offering all entering students an opportunity to participate in a clinical experience based in a primary care setting.
  • Initiated an integrated course in basic science for first-year students in 1993–94.
  • At the end of June 1994, launched a required five-week Primary Care Clerkship for third-year students.
  • In 1996–97, required all fourth-year medical students to select one month of a basic science seminar course.
  • Published 10 articles on the curriculum changes, including one in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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