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Curriculum Core Competencies

The overall objective of Dell Medical School curriculum is to instill graduates with the knowledge, skills, behaviors and attitudes that will lead to their becoming capable, compassionate and inquisitive physicians.

Leadership & Innovation

Contribute to the development, application and translation of new medical knowledge through scholarly inquiry, research, discovery and dissemination.

  • Use the scientific method to expand the understanding of biological and nonbiological, the causation of disease and efficacy of traditional and nontraditional therapies.
  • Formulate a high-quality scholarly research question and hypothesis and/or project plan.
  • Apply knowledge of clinical research design to answer a novel research question.
  • Employ appropriate research methods to answer a specific investigative question; apply appropriate quantitative and qualitative analysis and statistical inferences to the resulting data.
  • Disseminate new knowledge obtained from scientific inquiry.

Progressively increase perspective and experience with regional and global community and population health through technology and service-learning activities, working toward innovative solutions to system, community and population health problems.

  • Monitor and evaluate regional and global trends in the delivery of health care, identifying those which hold promise to solve problems and drive innovation.
  • Forecast opportunities and communicate regional and global trends in the delivery of health care and opportunities with stakeholders and team members.
  • Apply a strategic perspective to problem-solving and decision-making related to community and population health problems/health care system.
  • Demonstrate insight into situations, problems and possible solutions when required to support innovation and problem-solving related to community and population health problems/health care system.

Build, inspire and lead teams committed to innovation and improvement in health care.

  • Compose vision and strategy, translate these into team goals and communicate these effectively to the team.
  • Build engaged and committed teams; leverage their skills and strengths to innovate, accomplish goals and drive for results.
  • Model flexibility in the context of change, help team members cope by explaining the rationale for change and acknowledge their concerns about change.
  • Inspire and motivate team members to high levels of innovation, accountability and performance.
  • Collaborate with team members to assess processes and outcomes against goals in continuous improvement cycles.

Patient Care

Obtain essential information from patient history and past medical records and perform physical exam.

  • Obtain an accurate medical history that covers all essential aspects of the history, including issues related to age, gender, genetic background, environment and socioeconomic status.
  • Conduct a thorough and accurate physical exam, including psychiatric, neurologic, genital and orthopaedic examinations in adults and children.

Synthesize information and use critical decision-making skills to identify and continually update a differential diagnosis, recognizing clinical emergencies.

  • Interpret the most frequent clinical, laboratory, imaging and pathologic manifestations of common diseases and injuries.
  • Formulate a differential diagnosis that incorporates scientific principles and sound clinical reasoning.

Construct appropriate management strategies for patients with common acute and chronic conditions, including medical, psychiatric and surgical conditions, and those requiring short- and long-term care.

  • Formulate a treatment plan, demonstrating the ability to communicate the relative certainties of a differential diagnosis and the relative risks and benefits of outcomes and treatment options.
  • Articulate an initial course of management for patients with serious conditions requiring critical care.
  • Demonstrate the ability to assess and manage pain and promote comfort.
  • Perform basic technical procedures used by physicians in clinical practice.
  • Record clinical information and formulate orders directing the further care of the patient.

Medical Knowledge

Demonstrate an understanding of the anatomy and function of the body.

  • Describe the structure and function of the body and of each of its major organ systems, as well as how the systems integrate their functions to maintain homeostasis, recognizing anatomic and physiologic diversity across populations.
  • Explain the molecular, biochemical and cellular mechanisms that are important in maintaining the body’s homeostasis.

Demonstrate and apply relevant scientific knowledge of the mechanisms of disease and of the consequences of abnormal physiology and anatomy.

  • State the genetic, developmental, metabolic, toxic, microbiologic, autoimmune, neoplastic, degenerative and traumatic causes of major categories of disease and injury and the ways in which they present in clinical practice.
  • Relate the altered structure and function (pathology and pathophysiology) of the body and its major organ systems to various diseases and conditions.
  • Explain the principles of pharmacology, therapeutics and therapeutic decision-making as they relate to the mechanisms of disease.

Demonstrate and apply relevant scientific knowledge of biopsychosocial factors that alter physiology and the effect of these factors on therapeutic interventions, disease prevention, health promotion and health disparities.

  • Recognize the important nonbiological determinants of poor health, including the psychological and social factors such as racism, stigma, oppression and trauma, that contribute to the development and/or exacerbation of illnesses.
  • Describe the epidemiology and risk factors of common illnesses and how they may present in diverse populations.
  • Apply the systematic approaches useful in reducing the incidence and prevalence of common illnesses.

Demonstrate scientific literacy, including the ability to gather and evaluate information sources, evidence and research design.

  • Determine the nature and extent of the information needed for various populations and effectively search databases to gather information.
  • Apprise existing literature to understand characteristics of diverse populations, generalizability of study results across populations and integrity of sources.
  • Apply the requirements for ethical conduct of scientific inquiry.
  • Use an evidence-based approach to gathering, evaluating and integrating information into specific clinical contexts.


Communicate effectively and in a timely fashion, both orally and in writing, with patients, families and other health care professionals.

  • Communicate effectively with patients and families at an appropriate level of health literacy across a broad range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.
  • Communicate with patients and families in culturally appropriate ways regarding sensitive issues such as sexuality and sexual function, oppression, domestic violence, substance abuse, socioeconomic barriers to health, end-of-life issues and other topics that affect patient well-being.
  • Communicate accurately and effectively, identifying and removing any stigmatizing language used, orally, in writing and through electronic health records with anyone with whom physicians must exchange information in carrying out their responsibilities.

Practice-Based Learning & Improvement

Appraise one’s own medical knowledge, social understanding and clinical skills, accept limitations, identify goals and incorporate new information for continuous, lifelong learning and improvement.

  • Synthesize performance feedback and use it to improve gaps in knowledge and skills.
  • Construct a plan for growth and improvement based on the appraisal of one’s own knowledge and skills.
  • Commit to lifelong learning, incorporating new information to improve care.

Demonstrate emotional intelligence in management of self and others.

  • Recognize manifestations of emotion and stress in oneself and others and demonstrate healthy coping mechanisms in response.
  • Manage conflict between personal and professional responsibilities.
  • Practice flexibility and maturity and demonstrate the capacity to alter one’s behavior to be appropriate in a variety of situations.
  • Demonstrate trustworthiness and equanimity.
  • Demonstrate situational and self-awareness and use that information to guide thinking and behavior in the practice of medicine.
  • Integrate new knowledge, skills, values and behaviors with one’s own unique identity and core values to develop a professional identity.

Systems-Based Practice

Apply team-based interprofessional practice in the delivery of safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable, person-centered, population-based health care.

  • Demonstrate respect for the roles of other health care professionals and willingness to collaborate with others in caring for individual patients and in promoting the health of defined populations.
  • Practice team-based interprofessional care and establish and maintain a climate of mutual respect, dignity, integrity, inclusiveness and trust among all team members.

Incorporate contextual awareness of the larger health care systems, medical products and pharmaceutical industries and resources by providing optimal health care and advocacy for patients.

  • Describe the structure, function and finance of the health care, public health industry, academic and research systems, and the role of physicians within them.
  • Appraise and apply systematic, population-based approaches useful in reducing the incidence and prevalence of common conditions.
  • Analyze positive and negative consequences resulting from the involvement of industry in health care delivery, scientific research and medical product development.
  • Recognize the tension between the obligation to meet the needs of individual patients with a societal obligation to practice evidence-based medicine and resource stewardship.

Employ quality-improvement principles and tools to improve patient safety or patient care.

  • Retrieve (from electronic databases or other resources), manage and use biomedical information for solving problems and making decisions that are relevant to the care of individuals and populations including addressing social determinants of health and barriers to health equity.
  • Employ quality-improvement principles and common patient safety/quality tools and value-based care to improve patient care.
  • Evaluate the validity of information and apply statistical and quantitative understanding to the interpretation of data as related to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease.


Practice with integrity, accountability, quality and reliability.

  • Demonstrate honesty and integrity in all interactions with patients, families, colleagues and others with whom physicians interact in their professional lives.
  • Advocate for the interests of one’s patients over one’s own interests.
  • Demonstrate respect for patient confidentiality and privacy of protected health information.

Practice ethical, compassionate, person-centered care with a commitment to dignity.

  • Show compassion and respect in treatment of patients, while maintaining appropriate boundaries.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to advocate and provide care for patients from underserved or vulnerable populations.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to service in response to community need.
  • Discuss major theories and principles of medical ethics, including the approach to resolution of major ethical dilemmas in research and clinical practice.

Health Equity

Demonstrate an understanding of the root causes of health inequities including how the socialization of dominant cultural norms, beliefs and values and application of public policy create these health inequities among defined populations.

  • Describe how current and historical perceptions of identities such as race, ethnicity, language, sex, sexual orientation, gender, age, ability, culture, socioeconomic status, geographic location, immigration status and their intersectionality lead to the unequal allocation of power and resources and create vulnerabilities that influence health outcomes.
  • Recognize how structural and social determinants of health, including historical and current policies that perpetuate health inequities, influence health and access to health care for diverse populations.
  • Describe the structures of oppression such as racism and sexism that perpetuate biased biomedical assumptions and influence differential provider treatment among diverse populations.
  • Examine how the socialization of identities, including race as a social rather than genetic construct, shape group experiences, create affordances and limitations and inform health behavior and utilization of health care.
  • Critically appraise research and clinical practices that perpetuate biased biomedical assumptions.

Gain awareness of personal conscious and unconscious bias and recognize how interpersonal power differentials manifest in actions that perpetuate health inequities.

  • Identify one’s own biases and demonstrate a willingness to accept and remedy them.
  • Recognize one’s own power and privilege and demonstrate the ability to leverage them to promote health equity.
  • Examine how the intersectionality of one’s own multiple identities such as race, ethnicity, language, sex, sexual orientation, gender, age, ability, culture, socioeconomic status, geographic location and immigration status influence one’s thoughts and actions.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to continued growth and understanding of the ways in which interpersonal, institutional and societal interactions impede health equity.
  • Demonstrate comfort and ability building relationships with individuals and populations whose identities differ from one’s own.

Integrate collaborative, innovative, immersive experiences within the health ecosystem to pioneer ways to improve health care access, quality, patient experiences and outcomes.

  • Describe local, regional, national and global health inequities.
  • Recognize how a diverse health professions workforce is associated with reduced health disparities, physician-patient concordance and promotion of care that values cultural humility.
  • Demonstrate one’s understanding of community-based partnerships including respect for community autonomy, self-sovereignty and expertise, taking a role of humility and solidarity when working with populations whose identities differ from one’s own.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of community-based participatory research in order to gain insight into community preferences, expertise and health needs.
  • Integrate clinical practice with systems-based interventions that allow opportunities to promote health equity, improve health and reduce health disparities.

Demonstrate aptitude, recognition and informed ability to practice and promote transformative change that eliminates barriers for optimal health and act against and educate on systems that perpetuate health injustice and health inequities.

  • Act to disrupt biased perceptions, beliefs, policies and practices in order to advance health equity in our community.
  • Demonstrate the ability to adapt interprofessional and patient encounters to address health inequities shaped by current and historical sociopolitical forces.
  • Intervene to end or pre-empt practice barriers such as lack of access to language interpretation services to support others experiencing barriers to equitable care including identity-based discrimination and bias.
  • Advocate for inclusive interpersonal, institutional and societal practices and procedures through application of understanding the role intersectional identity plays in health inequities.