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New undergraduate medical education curriculum launches in fall

May 23, 2014 — 

Since 2010, the College of Medicine has been undergoing an extensive Undergraduate Medical Education (UGME) curriculum review and renewal process. The new clerkship program for the Class of 2015 launched last August for the Med III students. The new pre-clerkship program will commence August 2014 for first-year students in the Class of 2018.

“This is the most significant change to how medical school is taught at the University of Manitoba in nearly two decades. And it is the first time there has been a complete four-year ‘overhaul’ in institutional   memory. This ensures the pre-clerkship changes are closely linked and spiraled into an identifiable and governed clerkship curriculum,” noted Brian Postl, dean of Medicine, and dean and vice-provost, Faculty of Health Sciences). “It really is all-encompassing and we should be very proud of what we have accomplished.”

Director of Curriculum Renewal, Dr. Keevin Bernstein, who reports to Associate Dean, UGME Dr. Ira Ripstein, has led the Curriculum Renewal process including: internal reviews, external consultations, establishment of specific task groups, stakeholder consultation, and faculty development.

“As reflected by our Curriculum Renewal (CuRe) foundation principles, our new curriculum expresses a commitment to the community highlighting the importance of social responsibility, health advocacy, professionalism, while assuring the principles of scholarship and discovery, excellence and critical thinking are enhanced,” explained Bernstein.

Commitment to the community is manifested by early and longitudinal exposure to individuals and their families in community clinics, agencies and activities.

The curriculum renewal process has included: internal reviews, external consultations, establishment of specific task groups, stakeholder consultation, and faculty development.

“This has been a mammoth undertaking by many faculty and staff in UGME, medical education, departments, sections as well as students and others,” said Postl.

“I want to thank everyone for their dedication to the curriculum renewal process and acknowledge all of the hard work across the Faculty to date (and continuing) to develop and implement a new curriculum that exceeds the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada’s Future of Medical Education in Canada recommendations and accreditation standards”

Throughput the curriculum renewal processes, faculty and students have actively participated on the task force, in leadership positions and various course committees.

“We are very grateful to have these committed faculty and students working diligently to enhance our learners’ educational experiences,” added Postl.


The Curriculum Renewal process and developments include:

1. Current curriculum (introduced in 1997) review process and needs assessment

2. Principles extracted from 11 CuRe Task Groups (2011)

3. Curriculum 21st century Framework: A four-year fully integrated (both vertically and horizontally) spiral scaffold curriculum which includes the following components:

  • Composite Clinical Presentations(CP4) – Approximately 130-135 categorized presentations that students will be expected to ‘manage’ by the end of UGME curriculum in one of four areas (Signs or Symptoms, Lab abnormalities, Factors affecting Health and Health conditions)


  • Pre-clerkship will comprise four modules (Modules0-3):
    • Foundation of Medicine  Module(M0)
    • Human Biology & Health Module (M1)
    • Health & Disease Module (M2)
    • Consolidation Module(M3)
    • Clerkship (Modules 4-7) A reorganized clerkship (M5), integrating some related specialty areas, accompanied by structured regular mandatory academic time preceded by a five-week Transition to Clerkship(M4) . The 4th year electives period (M6) will not change but after the CaRMS match there will be a more structured curriculum Transition to Residency (M7).


  • Longitudinal Courses (Professionalism, Clinical Skills, Clinical Reasoning, Indigenous Health, and Public Health and Prevention along with  Longitudinal Themes(i.e. Diagnostic Imaging, Generalism, Geriatrics, Genetics, Health care systems/safety, Inter-professional activities, Health Psychology, Information Sciences, Pediatrics, and Palliative care) will be incorporated into all 4 years.  Longitudinal “Themes” with faculty appointed leaders with curricular content integrated throughout the four years are differentiated from courses by the absence of their own autonomous assessment.

4. Governance and Revised Funding Model: Reorganized educational pre-clerkship and clerkship leadership to facilitate curriculum governance and transparency with hybrid funding model between UGME and academic departments.

5. Student Assessment : Every unit or module, including Longitudinal courses, will have student assessment with more frequent exams in Modules 0-2 for each course each requiring mastery in contrast to current high stakes post 12-14 week block exam.

6. Faculty Development: Course leaders are currently presenting their overarching plans for their respective preclerkship courses. Faculty development worked with leaders through Jan 2014 to build consensus on curricular content and learning strategies for M0-M3.

7. A curriculum evaluation process, to measure the effects of these changes, and make recommendations for improvement on an ongoing basis

The CuRe Framework, Project Map, Gantt chart and developments updated regularly are available here. .



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