An Integrated Curriculum, A Cohesive Framework

 

Courses We Offer

Our innovative curriculum begins with an Early Immersive Experience in Year 1 and ends with residency preparation in Year 4. These components bookend coursework integrating Biomedical, Clinical, and Health Systems Sciences with opportunities to apply knowledge and gain skills through academic experiences such as Longitudinal Integrated Clerkships (LICs), inpatient immersion, selectives and electives, service-learning, and special projects.

Throughout all four years, your education is integrated within a case-based, spiral progression that lets you return to key educational information and concepts over time in increasing complexity, so your medical knowledge and clinical skills evolve simultaneously.

The Three Pillars

The School's curriculum is built on the three pillars of Biomedical Science, Clinical Science, and Health Systems Science. Through our spiral approach to learning, you'll revisit these key areas over the next four years, digging deeper each time and developing an increasingly sophisticated understanding. As you encounter these topics in new settings and contexts, you'll conclude your education prepared to deliver exceptional medical care, wherever you choose to practice.

Biomedical Science

Biomedical Science provides the basic framework of biomedical knowledge that underlies clinical reasoning and decision-making.

Clinical Science

Clinical Science includes preventing, diagnosing, and treating health conditions and disease, and optimizing health for each patient.

Health Systems Science

Health Systems Science is the science of how human relationships, organized in systems, influence health. It is the basis for improving health and health equity.

The Four Threads

Woven across the four-year curriculum are four longitudinal threads emphasizing approaches and values that the School considers essential for meaningful participation in high-functioning healthcare systems.

The four threads are: Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity; Health Promotion; Interprofessionalism; and Leadership.

Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity

Just as every patient faces distinct circumstances, every member of the healthcare team contributes unique perspectives. Our curriculum teaches the knowledge, skills, and attitudes you’ll need to effectively engage with and care for an increasingly diverse population.

You’ll work alongside fellow students to understand and address socially and culturally based health disparities, to promote health equity. And you’ll study self-awareness, unconscious bias, and diversity and inclusion in the workplace to increase your cultural sensitivity and empathy, both for patients and colleagues.

Health Promotion

Healthcare is much more than treating illness. For that reason, we've integrated the science of health promotion into your four years at the School. Because your own health and health practices influence how you treat others, health promotion starts with you. You'll learn to maintain your own well-being so that you can better serve your patients.

From there, your educational journey will cover disease prevention and key health promotion topics such as nutrition, stress management, and social connections. 

Interprofessionalism

We are proud to offer a robust curriculum in interprofessional education (IPE).

Interprofessional education is an essential experience for future clinicians. IPE depends on dialogue and collaboration among interdisciplinary health professionals, who can advance their own knowledge and skills by sharing learning and skills with each other.

The School’s curriculum will allow you to learn fundamental IPE knowledge, apply this knowledge through acquiring skills in a simulated setting, and provide collaborative care, thereby preparing you for a future in team-based medicine.

Leadership

As healthcare and medicine continue to undergo rapid change, it’s more important than ever for physicians to adapt, endure, and thrive. Throughout your time here, you’ll learn to be not only an excellent clinician, but also an inspiring leader.

The School’s focus on leadership development will help you understand your personal style, develop strong collaborative skills, and ultimately, manage change and people in difficult circumstances. With these skills, you'll be equipped to succeed in team-based care as a student and a professional.

Teaching Patient Advocacy

Your Journey: Year by Year

Year 1

In Year 1, you'll approach the Biomedical, Clinical, and Health Systems Sciences through an introduction to the fundamental knowledge required to practice medicine. You'll also care for real patients supported by a team of expert healthcare professionals through clinical immersion, and you’ll engage in service-learning activities with a rich network of community clinics and agencies.

Spotlight: Longitudinal Integrated Clerkships (LICs)
At the beginning of the first school year, you'll start your clerkship in primary care with a physician preceptor and the care team that works with that preceptor. You'll begin seeing patients so that you can learn Biomedical Science, Clinical Science, and Health Systems Science in the context of patient care.

Year 2

Building on what you learned in your first year, Year 2 will emphasize the application of competencies, skills, and foundational knowledge to more complex patient care and health systems contexts.

Spotlight: Hospital Inpatient Experience
In this year, students will participate in four one-week Inpatient Immersion experiences. You’ll be guided by attending physicians and residents as you participate in multiple patient care areas within the hospital setting.

Year 3

In Year 3, you’ll start directing your advanced clinical training toward your chosen areas of specialization. This specialty-focused longitudinal immersion will span the entirety of your remaining two years, allowing you to deepen your skills and knowledge in your area of interest.

Spotlight: Sub-Internships
You will complete four week-long sub-internships in Internal Medicine and the specialty of your choice (often related to the area in which you apply for residency).

Year 4

Your final year begins the transition to residency, where you will prepare for the next phase of your training with an individualized residency preparation program.

Spotlight: Residency Immersive
The Residency Immersive provides the opportunity for concentrated practice of the skills required of your selected specialty, preparing you to confidently provide safe, excellent patient care on day one of residency.

Early Immersive Experience

Your time at the School will kick off with the Early Immersive Experience that includes:
 
  • The history and mission of the School
  • Introduction to the spiral, case-based curriculum
  • Introduction to Biomedical Science
  • Introduction to Clinical Science
  • Introduction to Health Systems Science
  • Professional identity formation
  • Team-building and connections
  • Early clinical skills

Integrated Sciences

The Integrated Sciences courses take place over the first two phases (years) and use patient cases that evolve over one to two weeks as the context for integrating core knowledge and skills from the three pillars of the School curriculum (Biomedical Science, Clinical Science, and Health Systems Science) as well as the four longitudinal threads (Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity; Health Promotion; Interprofessionalism; and Leadership). Students will discuss and ask questions during these case sessions in a small-group format that supports deep learning and nurtures curiosity.

Students and faculty facilitators will develop longitudinal relationships over each year. Case work will continue with simulation and interactive laboratory sessions using cutting-edge technology to enhance learning disciplines such as anatomy and pathology, as well as clinical reasoning and procedures. There will be a significant amount of unstructured time throughout the week for students to engage in independent learning utilizing an array of self-study resources to prepare for in-class instruction and consolidate prior learning.

Longitudinal Integrated Clerkships (LICs)

The Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (LIC) model restructures the student’s and patient’s experience of caregiving in each of the six core clerkship specialties (Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Surgery) by eliminating traditional block rotations. Instead, students learn core skills by following panels of patients over time, while maintaining one-on-one relationships with a preceptor. Students observe patients through the entire care continuum, including diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up. Students will still also experience block rotations in Years 3 and 4 for advanced clinical experiences.

LICs at the School will start early on, with first- and second-year students hosted at one of our six medical centers in the greater Los Angeles area: Downey, Los Angeles, Panorama City, Fontana, South Bay, and West Los Angeles. Students in their third and fourth years will have the opportunity to take advantage of Kaiser Permanente's national network, working in other Southern California medical centers or in regions across the country.

REACH

Over your four years at the School, you'll also participate in a five-module learning series called REACH (Reflection, Education, Assessment, Coaching, Health, and well-being), which takes place every quarter in one-week blocks and emphasizes personal and professional development.

REACH weeks will include time for learning about your health and well-being, and exploring ways to maximize your resilience skills. You will also engage in self-reflection and goal-setting with your REACH coach and explore your developing professional identity as a future physician.

Service-Learning

Serving your community is a foundational value of the School. We believe that service-learning offers our students an essential opportunity to augment classroom learning with the kind of skills and knowledge you can best learn working with people where they live. While working with community clinics and their partner agencies, you'll learn how to effectively serve not just patients but their communities.

You'll also learn how to recognize social, economic, and environmental factors that influence health; advocate for disease prevention and public health promotion; embrace population care; and collaborate with community partners to help address their needs.

Scholarly Project

Each student will meaningfully explore an area of individual interest as they complete a scholarly project under the close guidance of a faculty member. Students interested in pursuing additional in-depth scholarship worthy of publication will have access to the substantial resources of the School and the Kaiser Permanente research enterprise.

Dual Degrees

Students may apply to programs offering additional degrees. Doing so will allow students to pursue deep expertise in areas of special interest, preparing them for any type of career in medicine. The School is establishing relationships with some of the most prestigious universities in Southern California. Students must apply separately to the School and the additional degree program, and must be admitted to both. Programs may have varying application timelines. 

Doctoral Programs

California Institute of Technology: Doctor of Philosophy (MD, PhD)

This program is designed for students interested in pursuing in-depth research to identify and bridge gaps to advance health. Students will typically perform summer research rotations at Caltech before, during, and after the first two years of medical school at the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine. Subsequently, they will carry out their doctoral degree work in any of the multiple areas of research offered at Caltech, ranging from bioengineering and biochemistry to computational and neural systems.

Upon completion of their PhD dissertation, students return to the School to finish their MD studies. We expect that these dual doctors will not only excel at patient care but also be equipped to successfully challenge current and future impediments to the well-being of their patients and communities.

Master's Programs

A master’s degree program typically involves an extra year between the final two years of medical school, with additional part-time commitments in the third and/or fifth year, depending on the program. Students will have ample time to complete their clinical rotations and residency applications. Students must apply for these programs, typically in their second or third year of medical school, and financial aid may be available.

Loyola Marymount University (LMU): Master of Healthcare Systems Engineering (MD, MS)

Building off LMU’s renowned Systems Engineering graduate program, the Healthcare Systems Engineering program (the only one of its kind in Southern California) offers Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine students an opportunity to apply for a unique educational experience. Developed in collaboration with Kaiser Permanente, this program applies Lean methodology, project management, and systems engineering principles to patient safety, integrated healthcare, healthcare technology, and population health, to help doctors improve the complex healthcare systems in which they work. 

University of California Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health: Master of Public Health (MD, MPH)

As one of the top-10 public health schools and the number-one public university in the country, the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California Los Angeles has five academic departments: Biostatistics, Community Health Sciences, Environmental Health Sciences, Epidemiology, and Health Policy and Management. Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine students may apply for a Master of Public Health degree.

University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy: Master of Health Administration (MD, MHA)

University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy, one of the nation’s top public policy schools, offers Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine students a chance to earn a Master of Health Administration. This degree program is designed for those interested in a career in healthcare leadership. The program offers training in healthcare management and policy to address ongoing issues in technology, behavioral science, economics, healthcare law, and finance, essential to doctors who want to become leaders within hospitals, health plans, medical practices, and community health organizations.

Assessment of Your Learning

Our assessment system is designed to ensure that you enter residency with full competence to assume increasing responsibility for the care of patients. Each student will work with a designated coach over the four years to holistically assess progress and proactively identify and fill learning needs.

All Phase 1 courses (Integrated Sciences, LIC, and REACH) will be graded on a pass/fail basis. This approach emphasizes student competence and fosters a collaborative, non-competitive learning environment. Moreover, studies of medical education have shown this approach improves mental health and well-being for students, without negatively affecting academic outcomes.

In Phase 2, the Integrated Sciences and REACH courses will also be pass/fail. However, the Phase 2 LIC will be graded on a tiered basis as will be all Phase 3 Clinical Experiences. This approach provides the opportunity for distinction in clinical skills evaluated by program directors as part of the residency application process.