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Patients, Populations, and Systems Courses

The George Washington School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS) seeks to graduate “clinician-citizens” who are prepared to deliver excellent patient care in 21st century health systems who can identify and address important health system, community and public health issues that impact the health of individuals and diverse populations. GW graduates are expected to engage with communities to improve health and promote health equity for local, national, and global communities; perform effectively on interprofessional-interdisciplinary teams; and serve as leaders and advocates to improve the health and lives of patients and communities. GW SMHS is one of the few US schools of medicine to offer comprehensive integrated public health, population heath and health systems science content into their MD curriculum.

The “Patients, Populations, and Systems” (PPS) courses are given over the first three semesters of the MD curriculum to facilitate students’ ability to integrate basic sciences, clinical care, and population health, health policy and public health with systems-based practice in order to promote the health of patients and communities as well as to improve the conditions and systems that impact them. PPS course content focuses on applied learning with weekly interactive class sessions, smaller group case discussions interspersed throughout, and experiential learning opportunities through topic-relevant Clinical Public Health Summits.

PPS-1: Fundamentals of Patients, Populations, and Systems – MD 1st Semester

The first course in the PPS curriculum, “Fundamentals of Patients, Populations, and Systems” provides students with foundational knowledge and skills for understanding and working in population health and health systems.

Sessions include:

  • US Health Care Delivery System and Workforce
  • Health Care Costs, Financing and Resource Allocation
  • Health Insurance and Payment Systems
  • Overview of Health Systems/Comparative Health Systems
  • US Public Health System
  • Law and Health Systems
  • Public Health Policy and Programs
  • Health Disparities among Populations
  • Research and Informatics as a Professional
  • Evidence-Based Practice at the Population Level
  • Community Engagement and Identifying Stakeholders
  • Interprofessional, Interdisciplinary, and Intersectoral Approaches to Improving Health
  • Big Data for Health Systems

PPS-2: Patients in Health Systems – MD 2nd Semester

The second course, “Patients in Health Systems,” integrates students’ knowledge of and skills in population health and health systems into the clinical setting with a focus on understanding and improving patient care systems.

Sessions include:

  • Access to Care and Health Care in Safety Nets
  • Healthcare Law
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Care Settings, Transitions of Care and Care Coordination
  • Digital Health and Clinical Informatics
  • Patient Safety and Quality Improvement
  • Cost and Value in Healthcare and Value-Based Care
  • Law and Quality in Healthcare
  • Evidence-Based Medicine session series

PPS-3: Applying Principles of Patients, Populations, and Systems – MD 3rd Semester

The third and final course in the PPS curriculum, “Applying Principles of Patients, Populations, and Systems,” expands students’ knowledge and skills in population health, health systems, and system improvement and challenges students to apply their learning to patients, populations, and systems.

Sessions will delve deeper into key topics in Evidence-Based Practice, Communication, Health Systems and Law, Program Management, and Applied Prevention, and will begin to explore Special Topics such as:

  • Geospatial Epidemiology
  • Medical-Legal Partnerships
  • Homelessness, Housing and Health
  • Food Insecurity
  • Criminal Justice and Health
  • Immigrant Health
  • Community Violence
  • Climate Change and Health
  • Antimicrobial Resistance
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Social Marketing and Advocacy Skills