Faculty Articles


How Did We Make the Interdisciplinary Generalist Curriculum Project Work? School level efforts to facilitate success



Publication Title

Academic Medicine





Publication Date / Copyright Date


First Page

(supplement) p.31

Last Page



Lippincott Williams & Wilkins


This article examines how the schools funded by the Interdisciplinary Generalist Curriculum (IGC) Project handled the process of planning and implementing their proposals; incorporated the IGC requirements as templates for changes in educational programs and organizational infrastructures; and identified key educational and management issues that emerged over time. How collaboration flourished at each IGC school was the central functional ingredient for successful implementation. Shared power and support from the dean were essential for success. The need for excellent channels of communication among all constituencies in the process of curricular change cannot be overemphasized.

The most common approach was the addition of the new interdisciplinary clinical curriculum to the existing, usually discipline-based, curriculum, with attempts to establish integrative horizontal connections among concurrent courses in years one and two. The integration, sequencing, and correlating of basic science and clinical material occupied much of the IGC course directors' time in the early stages. Several approaches were used to help ensure a beneficial initial clinical experience for medical students, while accepting that a uniform experience for all students was not attainable or necessary. Encouraging active learning on the part of students was a goal of IGC schools' planning in and of itself. The splash of establishing interdisciplinary communication structures and greater melding of disciplinary cultures that occurred at and among the IGC schools appeared to lead to ripple effects that were recognized within the first year of planning and early implementation.


Medical Specialties | Medicine and Health Sciences | Osteopathic Medicine and Osteopathy

Peer Reviewed

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