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Competency Transition

In 1999, the Indiana University School of Medicine was one of the first medical schools to launch a competency-based curriculum based on 9 domains of competency: Communication and Interpersonal Skills; Basic Clinical Skills; Using Science to Guide Diagnosis, Management, Therapeutics, and Prevention; Life Long Learning; Self Awareness, Self Care and Personal Growth; Social and Community Context of Healthcare; Moral Reasoning and Ethical Judgment; Problem Solving; and Professionalism and Role Recognition.  This spurred many valuable contributions to our curriculum in the 15 years since the incorporating these 9 competency domains.

Since that time, medical education at large has embraced competency-based education.  The six competency domains identified by the American Council of Graduate Medical Education have become the predominant model used at all levels of medical education.

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As IUSM progresses toward its new integrated curriculum, the six ACGME categories have been used to organize the instructional learning objectives.   These categories are Medical Knowledge, Patient Care, Systems Based Practice, Practice Based Learning and Improvement, Interpersonal and Communication Skills and Professionalism.

The Curriculum Council Steering Committee recently approved transitioning to the new competency organization for our current curriculum starting with the 2014-15 academic year.


What does this mean to faculty?

For 2014-15, the day-to-day curriculum will not look much different; care is being taken to preserve valuable parts of the competency curriculum.   Each of the current nine competencies has been aligned with one or more of the new six competencies. However, the current concept of Level 1, 2 and 3 will no longer be utilized.   The elements of level 1 and 2 are being incorporated into formal promotion and graduation requirements for students to be promoted from one year to the next. Students who graduate from IUSM after June 1, 2014 will not be required to achieve level 3 in three competencies.   As we revise elective offerings this year course directors will be able incorporate valuable components of the level 3 experiences into the actual elective offering instead of being an optional component of the experience.

Additional changes in the grading scheme have also been approved for the 2014-15 academic year.  The previously separate competency transcript will be incorporated into the standard transcript and will show any existing isolated deficiencies in a specific competency for all four years.  As Medical Knowledge is paramount to a Foundational Science course in years 1 and 2, an Isolated Deficiency in Medical Knowledge will not be a grade option.  For the same reason, an Isolated Deficiency in Patient Care will not be permitted in the Clinical Science courses in years 3 and 4.

This transition brings the school one step closer to realizing the vision of our new curriculum and will allow us to make modifications to our infrastructure in preparation for its implementation in August of 2015.


Links to CCSC approved policies: 

Revised Grade Policy:

Next Steps Document:


The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

Butch Humbert

Bio coming soon.