MD Curriculum

Competencies and Institutional Learning Objectives

The primary curriculum governing body of IU School of Medicine, the Curriculum Council Steering Committee (CCSC) approved institutional adoption of the six ACGME competencies as the guiding framework for the new curriculum. IU School of Medicine extends these core competencies to student instruction through all four years of training: Aligning with this framework allows faculty and students to understand how current student learning prepares them for the next stage in their training and for their ongoing practice and maintenance of certification.

The six competencies and their associated objectives serve as our institutional level objectives. All course-level objectives are derived from specific objectives within one of the six competencies. In turn, as courses are designed, objectives are written for each session/class meeting, and each session objective is linked to a specific course objective. This allows the school to outline the courses that teach students the competencies and the sessions within courses where this learning is taking place.

Students apply evidence-based principles of biomedical, clinical, epidemiological and social-behavioral sciences to guide diagnosis, treatment and patient care decisions.


  • MK1.  Apply knowledge of normal human structure, function and development, from the molecular through whole body levels, to distinguish health from disease and explain how physiologic mechanisms are integrated and regulated in the body.
  • MK2.   Explain the causes (behavioral, degenerative, developmental, environmental, genetic, immunologic, inflammatory, metabolic, microbiologic, neoplastic, toxic and traumatic) of diseases, injuries and functional deficits affecting organ systems.*
  • MK3.   Describe the altered structure and function resulting from diseases, injuries and functional deficits affecting organ systems*, with an ability to interpret the clinical, histopathologic, laboratory and radiographic manifestations commonly seen in practice.
  • MK4.   Explain the principles of and describe the rationale for interventions (behavioral, genetic, mechanical, nutritional, pharmacologic, surgical and therapeutic) aimed at the prevention, treatment and/or management of diseases, injuries and functional deficits affecting organ systems.*
  • MK5.  Explain the role of the scientific method in establishing the cause of disease and use principles of evidence-based medicine, including biostatistics, to evaluate the efficacy of diagnostic and therapeutic options.
  • MK6.  Describe the epidemiology of common diseases affecting populations, including methods for prevention and early detection of disease and systematic, population-based approaches for reducing the incidence and prevalence of disease.
  • MK7.  Explain how behavioral, cultural, economic, educational, environmental, lifestyle, and psychosocial factors impact and interact with health, disease, care-seeking, care compliance, barriers to care, and attitudes towards care.

*Organ systems include the cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, immune, integumentary, lymphatic, muscular, nervous, renal, reproductive, respiratory and skeletal systems.

Competency Director, Regina Kreisle, MD, PhD 
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Students use knowledge and skills during clinical encounters to gather necessary information and apply evidence to develop appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic plans that enhance health and treat disease.


  • PC1. Recognize their role as a health care professional and contribute to the care of a broad spectrum of patients across the life cycle and with differing demographics.
  • PC2. Demonstrate knowledge and skills necessary to assume graduated responsibility in providing supervised care for patients including obtaining an appropriate clinical history and physical exam in a variety of patient care settings.
  • PC3. Create a prioritized differential diagnosis in a variety of different clinical situations and formulate a plan of care for the patient.
  • PC4. Interpret data from the patient encounter, the medical record and results of diagnostic testing gathered to make informed decisions based on up to date scientific information and sound clinical judgment.
  • PC5. Identify opportunities to incorporate health promotion and patient education into patient care activities as a means to improve individual and population health.
  • PC6. Perform and document common clinical procedures using appropriate techniques within the limits of the level of training.
  • PC7. Demonstrate an appropriate transition of care between providers or settings that minimizes the risk to patient safety.

Competency Director, Rakesh Mehta, MD
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Students are able to actively set and pursue clear learning goals and exploit new opportunities for intellectual growth and development. The student demonstrates the ability to generate critical, reliable, valid self-assessment(s) and use this knowledge for self-regulation and to promote their development. Students are able to recognize and thoroughly characterize a problem, develop an informed plan of action, act to resolve the problem and subsequently assess the result(s) of their action.


  • PBLI1. Demonstrate engagement in their professional development through awareness of their learning style and limits, and use this knowledge to close gaps and guide participation in continuous professional and inter-professional development such as conferences, classes, seminars, lectures, workshops and other venues.
  • PBLI2. Generate and analyze a set of potential solutions by applying prior knowledge to a new experience, recognizing the limitations of prior experience and knowledge, and identifying new information required to solve the problem.
  • PBLI3. Use multiple sources (including, but not limited to: colleagues; faculty; and the biomedical literature) to identify and critically appraise information, which includes managing information volume, discerning quality, and applying findings to advance medical knowledge and patient care.

Competency Director, Joseph Dynlacht, PhD
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Students listen attentively and communicate clearly with patients, families, peers, faculty and other members of the health care team: establishing rapport; fostering, forming and maintaining therapeutic relationships with patients; effectively gathering and providing information during interactions with others; and participating in collaborative decision making that is patient-focused.


  • ISC1. Establish and maintain respectful relationships with members of the health care team (peers, faculty and inter-professional colleagues) to facilitate the provision of effective care to patients.
  • ISC2.  Engage in respectful dialogue with patients, demonstrating active listening and the use of verbal and non-verbal skills to establish rapport and an effective physician patient relationship.
  • ISC3.  Modify communications demonstrating sensitivity to differences, values, and needs of others, with attention to one’s personal communication style and the context and purpose of the conversation.
  • ISC4.  Incorporate elements of shared decision making into communication with patients to facilitate their active participation in their health care.
  • ISC5.  Share information accurately in academic and clinical settings both in oral presentations and written documentation including in the medical record.

Competency Director, Glenda Westmoreland, MD
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Students carry out professional responsibilities with the highest standards of excellence and integrity, consistent with the Honor Code and with adherence to ethical principles. Students value the humanity of all and demonstrate accountability to both patient and society by placing the patient first and advocating for improved access and just distribution of resources.


  • P1.  Are responsive to the whole patient in a manner that supersedes self-interest by respecting the needs, dignity, privacy and autonomy of the patient and by employing strategies to reduce the effect of their own needs, beliefs, values, interests, vulnerabilities, conflicts and biases on patient care.
  • P2.  Behave in a professional manner by demonstrating compassion, honesty, integrity, respect, responsibility and self-discipline in relationships with all individuals, regardless of gender, age, culture, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, native language or role.
  • P3.  Apply ethical and legal principles to identify, analyze and address ethical issues in clinical and research activities, with the ability to discriminate where ethical and legal principles diverge.
  • P4.  Adhere to ethical principles governing medical practice, including maintaining patient confidentiality, gaining informed consent, identifying and managing conflicts of interest, complying with human subjects’ research protections, identifying and addressing unethical and unprofessional behaviors, and maintaining appropriate boundaries in relationships with patients.
  • P5.  Advocate on behalf of individual patients and underserved populations for improved access to care and just distribution of finite resources, balancing individual patient and societal needs.
  • P6.  Practice personal self-care, including developing strategies for stress management, maintaining a healthy balance between personal and professional responsibilities, and engaging the assistance of others when needed.

Competency Director, Liam Howley, MD
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Students demonstrate an awareness of, and responsiveness to, the larger context and system of health care, utilizing other resources in the system to provide care for patients. Students acknowledge the relationship between the patient, the community and the health care system and the impact on health of culture, economics, the environment, health literacy, health policy, and advocacy to determine their role within these social and system dynamics.


  • SBP1.  Embrace and respect diversity and individual differences that characterize patients, populations and members of the health care team.
  • SBP2.  Demonstrate effective team work through collaboration with patients, their supporters, multi-disciplinary healthcare professionals and other staff in the delivery of healthcare.
  • SBP3.  Evaluate the impact of a patient’s social context in health and disease and how factors, such as culture, socio-economic status, environment, religion, spirituality, sexuality, education, and health literacy impact patient-physician interactions, health care decision-making, and health outcomes.
  • SBP4.  Explain fundamental features of health care policy (including funding, legal and regulatory issues) both locally and nationally, the importance of physician advocacy in shaping healthcare policy, and the potential impact of policy changes on patients, underserved populations, and health care providers.
  • SBP5. Promote healthcare quality and patient safety through knowledge of safety concepts and contribution to a culture of safety through local and national initiatives.
  • SBP6. Demonstrate an awareness of the roles and responsibilities of the different members of the health care team, and participate in inter-professional education leading to collaborative practice.
  • SBP7. Apply the principles of high value health care to prioritize resource utilization while preserving the delivery of high quality health care to ensure improved outcomes.

Competency Director Rohit Das, MD
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