Health Systems Science Curricula in Undergraduate Medical Education: Identifying and Defining a Potential Curricular Framework

Jed D. Gonzalo, Michael Dekhtyar, Stephanie R. Starr, Jeffrey Borkan, Patrick Brunett, Tonya Fancher, Jennifer Green, Sara Jo Grethlein, Cindy Lai, Luan Lawson, Seetha Monrad, Patricia O'Sullivan, Mark D. Schwartz, Susan Skochelak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Purpose The authors performed a review of 30 Accelerating Change in Medical Education full grant submissions and an analysis of the health systems science (HSS)-related curricula at the 11 grant recipient schools to develop a potential comprehensive HSS curricular framework with domains and subcategories. Method In phase 1, to identify domains, grant submissions were analyzed and coded using constant comparative analysis. In phase 2, a detailed review of all existing and planned syllabi and curriculum documents at the grantee schools was performed, and content in the core curricular domains was coded into subcategories. The lead investigators reviewed and discussed drafts of the categorization scheme, collapsed and combined domains and subcategories, and resolved disagreements via group discussion. Results Analysis yielded three types of domains: core, cross-cutting, and linking. Core domains included health care structures and processes; health care policy, economics, and management; clinical informatics and health information technology; population and public health; value-based care; and health system improvement. Cross-cutting domains included leadership and change agency; teamwork and interprofessional education; evidence-based medicine and practice; professionalism and ethics; and scholarship. One linking domain was identified: systems thinking. Conclusions This broad framework aims to build on the traditional definition of systems-based practice and highlight the need for medical and other health professions schools to better align education programs with the anticipated needs of the systems in which students will practice. HSS will require a critical investigation into existing curricula to determine the most efficient methods for integration with the basic and clinical sciences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-131
Number of pages9
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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