A Proposal for a Shared Medical School Curricular Ecosystem

Acad Med. 2018 Aug;93(8):1125-1128. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000002194.


New digital platforms are transforming learning in higher education and providing high-quality education content at little or no cost. Educators can now reach large, even global audiences. Yet, many medical schools continue to develop and maintain custom but duplicative curricular content despite having limited faculty and financial resources. In addition, medical students are faced with a multitude of potentially unaligned curricula driven by the school, national licensing exams, and the students' own perceived clinical training needs. The authors propose the creation of a common curricular component ecosystem that is developed around consensus-built foundational learning objectives aligned with core competencies that must be acquired by all students graduating medical school. Identifying and developing common curricula with standardized learning outcomes ideally should involve leading medical education, accreditation, and certification bodies in the United States. Curriculum component standards will be necessary to enable curriculum development, sharing, and adoption at scale. A shared medical curriculum ecosystem would free up faculty time to develop high-value teaching activities at individual medical schools. Students would benefit from a consistent education experience that better aligns with national licensure exams. A shared, core curriculum system could begin to bend the cost curve for medical education in the United States and scale internationally to help address the increasing global shortage of health care workers.

MeSH terms

  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Curriculum / trends*
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Education, Medical / standards
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / methods*
  • Schools, Medical / standards
  • Schools, Medical / trends
  • United States