Inclusion of population medicine in a medical school curriculum has received growing attention. Recently, the Association of American Medical Colleges has highlighted this issue through support of the Regional Medicine and Public Health Education Centers initiative. The Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine joined this consortium while implementing a new curriculum in which population medicine would be an underlying theme woven with the classic science elements of disease. The organization for the first two years of the new curriculum, which was implemented in 2006, is a six-block structure during which the basic sciences are learned with key concepts of population medicine woven throughout. The focus for this article is Block One, in which population medicine is the major emphasis of the introduction to medicine. The first week, students learn social determinants, impact on communities, and social aspects of diabetes mellitus, even before addressing a patient's clinical presentation. Emphasis on student-centered learning is undertaken as part of the new curriculum, using a series of weekly, case-based, small-group sessions. This type of group learning is used throughout Block One as students encounter key components of population medicine. A thesis requirement was also introduced as a mechanism to emphasize research with opportunities for research in population medicine as well as other medical sciences. A variety of mechanisms are described to measure the outcomes of Block One.
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