Academics » MD Program » Curriculum » Goals & Objectives

Goals & Objectives

Statement of Objectives

The overarching objective of the MD program is the graduation of physicians who are competent, to the satisfaction of the faculty and the standards of the profession, in the following areas:

    • Medical Knowledge
    • Patient Care
    • Interpersonal and Communication Skills
    • Practice-based Learning and Improvement
    • Systems-based Practice
    • Professionalism

The Program Objectives are informed by well-established standards of medical education and designed to reflect the unique strengths and goals of The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

GW seeks to educate physician citizens who understand domestic, public health, and global health issues and who are prepared to participate in health care decision-making and leadership. The educational program will build upon the attributes of each student by promoting the acquisition of knowledge and skills in clinical practice, public health, health care policy, community health, medical education, global health, research, and scholarship with opportunities for the individualization of academic programs based upon unique interests.

Our graduates will demonstrate dedication to compassionate care, advocacy, and service. They will learn in a collaborative environment and adopt an approach to education and health care that is founded upon successful interdisciplinary cooperation.

By adopting skills for life-long learning, graduate physicians of GW will be able to continue to grow as professionals throughout the rest of their medical careers.

Through the institution’s strong dedication to instruction in clinical skills, our students will graduate with the focused scientific knowledge and specific skills required to perform successfully during postgraduate training in their chosen specialties as well as identification and remediation of important community health and public health issues.

Outline of Objectives

I. Medical Knowledge

By the time of graduation, students are expected to:

  1. Apply the scientific basis of the normal structure, development, function, and relationships among the major organ systems of the body to concepts of health and disease.
  2. Illustrate biochemical, physiological, neurological, and immunological mechanisms to their role in maintaining body homeostasis.
  3. Apply principles of pathophysiology to diseases and disorders.
  4. Evaluate the role of immunology and microbiology in health and disease.
  5. Contrast the genetic processes and environmental influences on health and on disease and its treatment.
  6. Interpret the role of normal human biological, cognitive, psychological, and behavioral development across the life span as determinants of health and illness.
  7. Interpret the clinical, laboratory, pathologic, and radiologic manifestations of common diseases in patient care.
  8. Apply pharmacological principles to medical therapeutics.
  9. Apply principles of nutrition for maintaining optimal health and managing disease.
  10. Apply the principles of epidemiology to the practice of medicine for the individual and the local and global communities.
  11. Illustrate how complementary medicine applies to patient care.
  12. Apply the scientific method to research that disseminates and translates new health care knowledge to patient care.

II. Patient Care

By the time of graduation, students are expected to:

  1. Perform a complete and accurate patient history that includes belief systems, spiritual and cultural issues and incorporate these into the comprehensive care of a patient.
  2. Perform an accurate and relevant screening and focused physical and mental status examinations.
  3. Perform common clinical procedures.
  4. Select appropriate physical examination techniques, laboratory tests, radiologic, and other clinical studies and interpret the results.
  5. Use biomedical information resources and appropriate consultants to support evidence-based medical care.
  6. Formulate a differential diagnosis and treatment plan for common medical conditions.
  7. Apply appropriate initial care to life-threatening conditions.
  8. Employ opportunities for early intervention to educate patients about disease prevention taking into account barriers to change.
  9. Apply the principles of quality and safety to provide efficient and cost-effective care.

III. Interpersonal and Communication Skills

By the time of graduation, students are expected to:

  1. Demonstrate empathic patient-centered communication.
  2. Demonstrate skills and strategies for communicating the status of the patient's health and condition to the patient and his/her representatives.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to present a coherent summary of the patient's clinical condition based upon the information obtained from the patient and other sources.
  4. Demonstrate shared decision-making with patients including discussing the risks and benefits of medical interventions and obtaining informed consent.
  5. Demonstrate skills and strategies for engaging patients and their families in difficult conversations (e.g. end-of-life, medical errors, serious diagnosis, etc.).
  6. Demonstrate the ability to collaborate with other health care professionals.
  7. Demonstrate the ability to negotiate conflicts within health care teams.
  8. Apply knowledge of the patient's culture, beliefs, spirituality and level of health literacy in communications.

IV. Practice-Based Learning and Improvement

By the time of graduation, students are expected to:

  1. Evaluate study design, methods and results as they apply to evidence-based medicine.
  2. Use reflection and feedback to improve clinical practice.
  3. Use electronic and other resources in the practice of life-long learning.
  4. Apply medical standards, clinical practice guidelines, and practice algorithms for individual patients or populations.
  5. Use learner-centered principles to teach colleagues, patients and the community- at-large about health and medical issues.
  6. Critically appraise the effectiveness of diagnostic and therapeutic interventions.
  7. Practice techniques that develop self-directed learning skills.

V. Systems-Based Practice

By the time of graduation, students are expected to:

  1. Analyze the role of advocacy and healthcare policy in improving patient care.
  2. Use system resources available to patients and communities for health education, treatment, and rehabilitation of medical and psychiatric conditions.
  3. Analyze the elements in the healthcare system that lead to disparities in health and access to healthcare.
  4. Interpret information about the health of patient populations and communities to identify needs and plan appropriate interventions in support of population health.
  5. Differentiate how culture and belief systems impact perception of health and illness, as well as response to symptoms, diseases, and diagnostic and treatment interventions.
  6. Apply the principles of cost-effective healthcare in patient care.
  7. Analyze the organization, financing, and delivery of health care.
  8. Relate the role of medical jurisprudence and conflicts of interest to issues that affect the US health care system.
  9. Analyze systems of care to enhance care quality and patient safety.

VI. Professionalism

By the time of graduation, students are expected to:

  1. Apply the theories and principles that govern ethical decision making.
  2. Demonstrate ethical behavior including: compassionate treatment of patients, respect for privacy and dignity, honesty and integrity, truthfulness, patient advocacy, confidentiality, and accountability.
  3. Demonstrate reliability, punctuality, dependability, and integrity in all professional activities.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to promote ethical and professional behavior of peers.
  5. Analyze personal and professional conflicts of interest.
  6. Demonstrate the ability to work effectively and respectfully in an interprofessional team.
  7. Demonstrate the qualities and practices required to maintain wellness and sustain lifelong personal and professional growth.
  8. Demonstrate appropriate leadership approaches that enhance team functioning, the learning environment, and the delivery of care.
  9. Demonstrate sensitivity and responsiveness to a diverse patient population, including but not limited to diversity in gender identity and expression, age, culture, race, religion, disabilities, health status and sexual orientation.