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Distinction Program for Care Transformation

Dell Medical School’s graduate medical education Distinction Program for Care Transformation provides selected residents with a unique opportunity to engage in a nontraditional, interdisciplinary learning experience in health systems science. Participants advance their skills as systems-ready leaders while exploring and discovering new possibilities in patient care and population health through design and innovation.

Program Structure

The distinction program consists of two required components.

The foundation offers coursework that is atypical to traditional graduate medical education training and within the domains of health systems science, design thinking, value-based care, communication and leadership. Learning formats vary from face-to-face, interactive lectures and team-based workshops to asynchronous online modules.

Distinction projects are individualized based on viability of each resident’s proposal and area of interest. Residents may design mentored projects working within the medical school on central institutional initiatives or within other colleges across The University of Texas at Austin campus. Opportunities exist to develop robust value-based care proposals, research studies or health care products.


Matriculation to the distinction program begins in June of the intern year. This two-year program concludes in May of PGY-3 with the presentation of a distinction project at Dell Med’s Research Day. Time for participation in the program will be protected from primary training responsibilities, but it will be limited so as not to require an extension of training.

Participating Specialties

The distinction program is currently available only to residents matching in general surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, internal medicine, family medicine and orthopaedic surgery. Other specialties may also participate on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the appropriate department for more information.

Program Selection

Internal medicine and pediatrics candidates are matched to the program through the National Residency Matching Program. Candidates must apply through the Electronic Residency Application Service by selecting “U Texas at Austin Dell Medical School”; “Austin, Texas”; “Specialty/Distinction.” Interviews for the distinction program occur during the regular residency recruitment season.

Recruitment for candidates from all other specialties occurs during the first half of PGY-1. Participants are selected from the pool of residents who have matched into the training programs.