General Competencies

Build a Strong Foundation

The College of Medicine has approved seven general competency domains that define and guide curriculum development, student assessment and program evaluation. Each competency is more fully described by a series of educational program objectives that specifically define the knowledge, skills, behaviors, and attitudes that medical students are expected to exhibit at the time of graduation. These competencies and educational program objectives are as follows:

Patient Care

Students will provide patient-centered, individualized care that is compassionate and effective for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of health.

  • Gather essential and accurate information about the patient through a thorough, patient-centered, culturally sensitive history and physical exam and review of prior diagnostics and information in the health record.
  • Propose an appropriate management plan including the selection of diagnostic tests.
  • Interpret diagnostic test results, and implement interventions, to diagnose and treat common clinical conditions.
  • Engage in shared decision making with patients.
  • Advise patients on strategies to promote wellness and manage medical conditions.
  • Determine the need for referrals to other providers and guide transitions of care between providers and settings.
  • Perform essential diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, and administer pre- and post-procedural care, competently with compassion under appropriate supervision.
  • Organize and prioritize responsibilities to provide care that is safe, effective and efficient.
Medical Knowledge

Students will apply knowledge in established and evolving biomedical, clinical, and social/behavioral sciences to basic and clinical problems.

  • Apply principles of the normal and healthy structure and function of the body as a whole, and of each organ system, to promote human health across the lifespan.
  • Apply fundamental biological principles to the prevention, risk assessment, diagnosis, and management of disease for patients and populations.
  • Apply current and emerging principles of clinical sciences to diagnostic and therapeutic decision-making, clinical problem solving, and other aspects of evidence-based health care to patient scenarios.
  • Apply principles of social-behavioral sciences to the provision of patient care, including assessment of the impact of psychosocial and cultural influences on health, disease, care-seeking, adherence, and barriers to and attitudes towards care.
  • Contribute to the creation, dissemination, application, or translation of new health care knowledge and best practices.
Practice-Based Learning and Improvement

Students will demonstrate the ability to investigate and evaluate their patient care practices, appraise and assimilate scientific evidence, and improve their patient care practices.

  • Utilize self-reflection to identify strengths, deficiencies, and limits in one’s knowledge and skills.
  • Set learning and improvement goals that can be translated into improved performance and patient care practices.
  • Incorporate feedback into daily practice and perform learning activities that address one’s gaps in knowledge and skills.
  • Locate, appraise, and assimilate evidence from scientific studies and use new knowledge and technologies to optimize learning and improve patient care practices.
  • Educate patients, families, students, trainees, peers, and other health professionals in the health care setting.
Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Students will demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective, dynamic exchange of information and collaboration across socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.

  • Use active listening and empathy in communication to effectively collaborate with patients, families and caregivers.
  • Communicate effectively with others as members or leaders of a health care team or other interprofessional group.
  • Demonstrate effective use of the electronic health record as a means of communicating accurate and timely information with members of the health care team and the patient.
  • Demonstrate sensitivity, honesty, and compassion in difficult conversations, including those about death, end of life, adverse events, bad news, disclosure of errors, and other sensitive topics.
  • Demonstrate insight and understanding about emotions and human responses to emotions that allow one to develop and manage interpersonal interactions.

Students will demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities, adherence to ethical principles, and sensitivity to all individuals.

  • Demonstrate respect, compassion, and responsiveness to the needs of others.
  • Demonstrate accountability, integrity, and a firm commitment to excellence and ongoing professional responsibilities.
  • Respect patients’ privacy and autonomy, including the security of protected health information.
  • Demonstrate sensitivity and responsiveness to all individuals, regardless of gender, age, culture, race, religion, ability, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or medically underserved status.
  • Enhance team functioning, learning, or health care delivery by acknowledging one’s own role and responsibilities, valuing others’ roles, and treating all with respect.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to ethical principles pertaining to individual conduct, patient care, confidentiality, informed consent, and business practices.
  • Give and receive candid and constructive feedback openly and tactfully.
Population and Community Health

Students will demonstrate knowledge of methods and research in population health (including public health, epidemiology, and health sociology) and the application of each to improving the care of patients in their practice and the health of their communities.

  • Apply population health principles, theories, and information to the provision of care for individuals and populations with an emphasis on rural and medically underserved communities.
  • Identify and interpret information about individual patients, populations of patients, or communities from which patients are drawn, in order to apply it to improving community health and access to care.
  • Identify health problems and risk factors, treatment strategies, resources, disease prevention/health promotion efforts to improve the health of patients and reduce health care disparities.
Systems-Based Practice

Students will demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of health care and the ability to call on system resources effectively to provide optimal care.

  • Use the knowledge of one’s own role and the roles of other health professionals to work effectively in diverse healthcare delivery and practice settings.
  • Incorporate considerations of cost and risk-benefit analysis in patient and/or population-based care.
  • Assist patients in navigating health care system complexities in coordination of care.
  • Identify system failures and opportunities for improvement to contribute to a culture of safety in the health care environment.
  • Recognize bias, social inequity, and systemic racism and their effects on health.
  • Develop approaches to promote racial equity at the individual, institutional, and societal levels.