Evolution of the New Pathway curriculum at Harvard Medical School: the new integrated curriculum

Perspect Biol Med. 2011 Winter;54(1):36-54. doi: 10.1353/pbm.2011.0003.


In 1985, Harvard Medical School adopted a "New Pathway" curriculum, based on active, adult learning through problem-based, faculty-facilitated small-group tutorials designed to promote lifelong skills of self-directed learning. Despite the successful integration of clinically relevant material in basic science courses, the New Pathway goals were confined primarily to the preclinical years. In addition, the shifting balance in the delivery of health care from inpatient to ambulatory settings limited the richness of clinical education in clinical clerkships, creating obstacles for faculty in their traditional roles as teachers. In 2006, Harvard Medical School adopted a more integrated curriculum based on four principles that emerged after half a decade of self-reflection and planning: (1) integrate the teaching of basic/population science and clinical medicine throughout the entire student experience; (2) reestablish meaningful and intensive faculty-student interactions and reengage the faculty; (3) develop a new model of clinical education that offers longitudinal continuity of patient experience, cross-disciplinary curriculum, faculty mentoring, and student evaluation; and (4) provide opportunities for all students to pursue an in-depth, faculty-mentored scholarly project. These principles of our New Integrated Curriculum reflect our vision for a curriculum that fosters a partnership between students and faculty in the pursuit of scholarship and leadership.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Clerkship
  • Clinical Competence
  • Curriculum*
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Education, Medical, Continuing
  • Faculty, Medical
  • Humans
  • Massachusetts
  • Models, Educational
  • Problem-Based Learning*
  • Schools, Medical / organization & administration*
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Teaching / methods*