Understanding Our Curriculum and Medical Education Acronyms

Our curriculum is built upon study in five major strands: Human Biology; Human Disease, Illness, and Injury; Clinical Medicine; Professional Development; and Green Family Foundation Medicine and Society Program. General competencies and educational program objectives guide curricular content within each strand. The curriculum is delivered via integrated courses within each of the five strands and across all four periods of study.

Student learning is guided by course objectives, defined core clinical case experiences, competency standards in specific clinical skills, and standards of professional behavior. Students log all clinical experiences and monitored for progressive development of essential skills and general competencies.

Period 1 provides the foundations of medicine in core basic, clinical, and social sciences. Core basic medical sciences include medical genetics, cell biology, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology and infections, and pathology. An introduction to clinical skills focuses on doctor-patient communication, general physical exam skills, foundations of evidence-based medicine and quantitative measurements, and medical research. Studies also include medical ethics, regional cultures in relation to medicine, self-reflection, and professionalism in doctor-patient relationships. Students become certified in basic life support (BLS) and work in primary care clinics to apply their clinical skills. Medical simulations, standard patient experiences, and virtual case studies complement classroom study and prepare students for patient-centered clinical experience learning.

In period 2, pathology, physiology, anatomy, and pharmacology are emphasized in case-based study of the major systems: hematopoietic and lymphoreticular, endocrine, reproductive, musculoskeletal, skin, gastrointestinal, renal/urinary, cardiovascular, respiratory, and nervous. Students develop clinical skills in conducting physical exams, forming differential diagnoses, and understanding how to interpret and use laboratory medicine data and imaging technologies. Clinical skills are taught as integrated and coordinated components of the organ systems. Simultaneously, courses in the strands of Professional Development and Green Family Foundation Medicine and Society Program continue, with study of health care systems and policy, interprofessional health care, community health, medical jurisprudence, and end-of-life care. Students begin their service-learning study with households in the community in NeighborhoodHELP, our longitudinal service-learning program, working in collaboration with other FIU students from nursing, social work, law and education.

Period 3 involves seven core clerkships: internal medicine, surgery, neurology, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry, and family medicine. Through preceptor-guided student-patient experiences in outpatient and hospital settings, students practice and hone communication, clinical, procedural and reasoning skills. Through elective opportunities in internal medicine and surgery clerkships, students explore specialty areas. Students continue working with their NeighborhoodHELP households. Osler Friday facilitates PBL (problem-based learning) in which students correlate their learning on basic sciences with clinical knowledge and skills. At the end of period three, students take Step 1 of the USMLE medical licensure exam.

Period 4 is devoted to advanced medicine to round out learning and facilitate choice of postgraduate study. Additionally, students complete individual research projects and a capstone experience that includes professional development and a clinical medicine residency boot camp to hone clinical skills and attain certification in Advanced Cardiac Life support (ACLS).

Medical education acronyms

In medical education, there are quite a few abbreviations used. This page hopes to explain some of the alphabet soup of medical education.

Educational Program Objectives (EPOs)
The FIU Herbert Wertheim COM educational program objectives encompass the knowledge, skills, behaviors, and attitudes students are expected to exhibit as evidence of their achieving competencies necessary for graduation and receipt of the Doctor of Medicine degree. The HWCOM Curriculum Committee uses these educational program objectives to guide decisions regarding specific course content.

Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs)
The AAMC published new guidelines in May 2014 to provide expectations for learners and teachers that include 13 activities that all medical students should be able to perform upon entering residency. Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) offer a practical approach to assessing competence in real-world settings and impact both learners and patients.

Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs)
Objective Structured Clinical Examinations are assessment tools in which students rotated through various stations and are observed and rated using checklists or rubrics. The students strive to demonstrate their competence in various clinical skills such as history taking, communication, physical examination, simple procedures, interpretation of lab results, or management.

Physician Competency Reference Set (PCRS)
The Physician Competency Reference Set is a list of common learner expectations utilized in the training of physicians and other health professionals. PCRS will serve as an aggregation tool that allows the AAMC to collect and analyze data through the Curriculum Inventory about competency-based education and the use of expectations (competencies, objectives, milestones, EPAs, etc.) in medical education.

Professionalism Advocacy Reporting System (PARS)
The Professionalism Advocacy Reporting System is an information gathering database at the HWCOM provided to continuously improve the professionalism of the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine's academic community and future physicians. Professionalism is an attribute and competency demanded of all physicians, and forms a vital component of the medical education programs at the Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. The Professionalism Advocacy Program of the HWCOM is designed to enhance the professional attitudes and behaviors of members of the learning community. It codifies professionalism standards and describes processes to report, document, evaluate and address incidents of concern. It also provides opportunities to recognize professional excellence.

The system provides for submission of two types of forms: 1) The Professionalism Incident Report (PIR) is used when it is felt that a member of the community has demonstrated unprofessional or inappropriate behavior. 2) The Professionalism Commendation Form (PCF) when it is felt that a member of the community has demonstrated exemplary professional behavior. All reports are taken very seriously and will be followed up by the Medical Education Administration. Reporting is not necessarily anonymous. Depending on the nature of the incident in question, the recipient may be informed who submitted the report. All appropriate measures will be taken to ensure that those who submit incident reports are protected from any form of retribution. All fields on this form are required for statistical and informational purposes.