Under a new curriculum launched at the University of California, San Francisco, medical students will now have the opportunity to be trained to succeed within the changing health care system, according to a press release issued by the university.

The appropriately named Bridges Curriculum is designed to help students navigate the changes they will most likely face during their medical school journey and professional careers. Built on the premise that there is an overwhelming amount of information medical students must learn, the transformative curriculum will help students build and strengthen their ability to tap into their scientific inquiry skills. “Medical education is like peeling an onion,” said Gordon

“Buck” Strewler, MD, a UCSF professor of medicine who directs the four-year Inquiry program at the school. “As you continue to pull off layers, more questions and more unknowns are revealed.” In addition, students will be trained so they can work with teams and collaborate to create a more successful health care delivery system for patients.

Under the new curriculum, students will have the chance to experience working in a clinical setting during their very first year – a major innovation of the UCSF approach. Specifically, medical students in their first year will work as members of clinical teams to contribute ideas and knowledge for providing patients with the best experience. According to the press release,’the medical school will partner with UCSF Health and UCSF’s affiliated hospitals Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center and the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center to provide these training experiences. In designing this curriculum, the medical education community sought to ensure that students in the clinics would be prepared to contribute to high-quality care, not just use the clinical environment to advance their education.”

Also built into the new curriculum is an opportunity for exposure to a wide range of “intellectual perspectives,” which the school says “includes a course on data and reasoning to teach students how to integrate technology and informatics into clinical practice. Other coursework focuses on the social context of health and illness, taught from the perspective of anthropology and other social sciences, as well as health policy.”

For more information about The Bridges Curriculum,visit meded.ucsf.edu/bridges.