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MD Program Guiding Principles and Learning Objectives

The GW SMHS MD program prepares students to become outstanding physicians who:

  • Exhibit excellent clinical skills;
  • Embody respect for the ideals of equity, diversity and cultural sensitivity;
  • Advocate for improvements in healthcare systems and community health;
  • Embody high standards of professional conduct; and,
  • Embrace life-long learning.

The MD Program is based on the following Guiding Principles reflected in the curriculum:

  • Integrating the teaching of the basic sciences, clinical sciences, public health and population health to build critical thinking skills;
  • Offering of a range of learning strategies to maximize student engagement and knowledge retention;
  • Offering early and longitudinal clinical exposure to ground learning in practice and provide for meaningful engagement with patients;
  • Offering opportunities for reflective self-assessment and mentoring to support professional development and wellness; and,
  • Individualizing student experiences to take advantage of the unique opportunities provided in the Nation’s Capital.

The MD Program Learning Objectives are structured to align with the ACGME competency areas. The learning objectives of the program are such that by the time of graduation, students are expected to:

I. Medical Knowledge

  1. Relate normal structure, development and function, to the genetic, biochemical, physiological, neurological, immunological, and microbiological processes among the major organ systems of the body in maintaining homeostasis.
  2. Assess the role of normal human biological, cognitive, psychological, and behavioral development across the life span as determinants of health and illness.
  3. Determine the impact of genetics, nutrition, epidemiology, and environmental influences on individual health and on disease and on informing treatment in local and global communities.
  4. Relate principles of pathology, physiology, microbiology, and immunology to the clinical evaluation and diagnosis of common diseases and disorders.
  5. Integrate the scientific foundations and advances of medicine with clinical reasoning skills in the prevention, treatment, and management of diseases, including pharmacologic and other interventions that can prevent, cure or alter the course of diseases and disorders

II. Patient Care

  1. Demonstrate the ability to elicit an appropriate medical history and physical examination and synthesize the information into a differential diagnosis
  2. Propose a suitable management plan, including the selection of laboratory and radiologic tests, interpretation of their results, and implementation of interventions, to diagnose and treat common clinical conditions
  3. Perform the medical and surgical procedures considered essential for entering a residency program
  4. Demonstrate the ability to counsel and educate patients, their families, and other caregivers about treating and preventing disease
  5. Demonstrate the ability to transition patient care from one provider to the next using appropriate verbal handoff and written documentation

III. Interpersonal and Communication Skills

  1. Demonstrate culturally sensitive, patient-centered communication about medical, emotional, social and spiritual matters to patients, their families, and other caregivers.
  2. Demonstrate shared decision-making with patients, their families, and other caregivers from all backgrounds
  3. Demonstrate the ability to present a coherent oral and written summary of patients’ clinical conditions
  4. Demonstrate the ability to collaborate with other health care professionals and teams

IV. Practice-Based Learning and Improvement

  1. Appraise the medical literature and electronic resources for validity, applicability, limitations and standard of care for the provision of care to individual patients and populations
  2. Use evidence-based strategies to teach colleagues, patients and the community- at-large about patient care in multiple clinical settings
  3. Appraise one's growth and development as a lifelong learner through reflective practice of personal and professional strengths and challenges
  4. Assess one’s personal well-being and its contribution to the health and wellness of their professional community and patient population

V. Systems-Based Practice

  1. Apply principles of cost-effective medicine to the analysis of the organization, financing, and delivery of health care
  2. Appraise mechanisms to systematically enhance quality patient care and safety
  3. Analyze the essential importance of physician advocacy and health care policy in improving patient outcomes
  4. Discuss the elements of the health care system that lead to health outcome disparities and those that can mitigate such disparities
  5. Describe the ways in which culture and belief systems impact perceptions of and responses to health and illness
  6. Use appropriate healthcare resources for optimization of patient care

VI. Professionalism

  1. Demonstrate understanding of ethical principles operating in the healthcare environment and the medical profession
  2. Apply ethical principles to professional activities including the care of patients and interaction with peers
  3. Demonstrate leadership, reliability, and integrity in all professional activities
  4. Demonstrate awareness of how one’s beliefs, values, and conflicts of interest may impact patient care
  5. Demonstrate compassion and care towards others regardless of differences in beliefs, identity, race, and culture