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Vertical Integration

An integrated curriculum aims to bring students beyond mere fact and concept acquisition to a level of scientific fluency, using a common language of medical science, with which they can begin to think creatively about medical problems.

 

Vertical Integration -- (integration of the medical school curriculum across all 4 years)

Horizontal Integration -- (integration of the medical school curriculum across courses and disciplines)

True vertical integration refers to the interweaving of clinical skills and knowledge into the basic science years and, in turn, reinforcing and continuing to teach basic science concepts as they apply during the clinical years. (Many efforts called "vertical integration" include only the first half of the process.) 

MCW examples include: 

  • Pilot Project with Biochemistry and Pediatrics 

  • Clinical Continuum 

  • Medicine/Microbiology senior elective

  • Pediatrics/Physiology senior elective

  • Women's Health elective

  • Geriatrics elective

Horizontal integration refers to identifying concepts or skills, particularly those that are clinically relevant, that cut across, for example, the basic sciences and then using these as an integrated focus for presentations, clinical examples, and course materials. 

Current MCW example: 

  • Identification of concepts that are repeated on different levels in different basic science courses - e.g., "Structure confers function, and abnormal structure leads to abnormal function, abnormal development, and disease." This is addressed in biochemistry on the molecular level, in human development, physiology, neurology, etc. on many levels: molecular, cellular, tissue, organ, system, and organism. 

Other Examples: 

  • Integration of some of the basic science courses around organ systems, e.g., Human Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, etc. 

  • Incorporating ethics, legal issues, finance, political issues, humanities, culture, computer skills, into different aspects of a course like the Clinical Continuum. 

  • Genetics

  • Geriatrics

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Page Updated 10/17/2012