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The University Program

In This Section:

The University Program in Detail

The Western Reserve2 Curriculum (WR2) creates a system of learning that integrates the fields of health and medicine into a single program of study. Education throughout the four years is centered on:

  1. Fostering experiential and interactive learning in a clinical context;
  2. Stimulating educational spiraling by revisiting concepts in progressively more meaningful depth and increasingly sophisticated contexts;
  3. Promoting integration of the biomedical and population sciences with clinical experience;
  4. Transferring concepts and principles learned in one context to other contexts;  
  5. Enhancing learning through deliberate practice, or providing learners with direct observation, feedback, and the opportunity to practice in both the clinical environment and in the Case School of Medicine’s Mt. Sinai Skills and Simulation Center.
The Western Reserve 2 Curriculum has 10 guiding principles:
  1. The core concepts of health and disease prevention will be fully integrated into the curriculum.
  2. Medical education will be experiential and emphasize the skills for scholarship, critical thinking, and lifelong learning.
  3. Educational methods will be chosen that stimulate an active interchange of ideas among students and faculty.
  4. Students and faculty will be mutually respectful partners in learning.
  5. Students will be immersed in a graduate school educational environment characterized by flexibility and high expectations for independent study and self-directed learning.
  6. Learning will be fostered by weaving the scientific foundations of medicine and health with clinical experiences throughout the curriculum. These scientific foundations include basic science, clinical science, population-based science, and social and behavioral sciences.
  7. Every student will have an in-depth mentored experience in research and scholarship.
  8. Recognizing the obligations of physicians to society, the central themes of public health, civic professionalism and leadership will be longitudinally woven throughout the entire curriculum.
  9. The systems issues of patient safety, quality medical care, and health care delivery will be emphasized and integrated throughout the curriculum.
  10. Students will acquire a core set of competencies in the knowledge, mastery of clinical skills and attitudes that are pre-requisite to graduate medical education. These competencies will be defined, learned and assessed and serve as a mechanism of assessment of the school’s success.
Western Reserve2 Curriculum Core Competencies
  1. Research and Scholarship
  2. Knowledge for Practice
  3. Interpersonal & Communication Skills
  4. Professionalism
  5. Personal & Professional Development
  6. Patient Care
  7. Teamwork & Interprofessional Collaboration
  8. Systems-based Practice
  9. Reflective Practice
Curricular Composition

The four years of the WR2 Curriculum are divided into four major components, each of which focuses on health as well as disease, and on the health of populations in addition to the health of individual patients.

  1. Foundations of Medicine and Health
    This component is made up of six integrated curricular blocks.
    • The first block – Becoming a Doctor - is five weeks in duration, and gives students an understanding of population health and the doctor’s responsibility to individuals and to society. Typically students begin their medical education by studying basic science at the molecular level, and are often not fully aware of the relevance that this knowledge has in their future education as physicians or how it relates to the actual practice of medicine. This curricular block focuses on how physicians can act as advocates for their patients in the health care system; how social and environmental factors impact health; and the importance of clinical research as the unifying principle between disease biology and the science of clinical practices. This block also has a strong emphasis on the importance of critical thinking and rigorous methodologies in the measurement of clinical phenomena.   
      The next five blocks in the Foundations of Medicine and Health focus on basic science in the context of clinical cases. Subject matter is integrated across entire biological systems with normal and abnormal processes taught in concert. Some themes stretch longitudinally across these blocks, including anatomy, histopathology and radiology, as well as pharmacology and clinical mastery.  
    • The second block – Human Blueprint - is comprised of endocrine, reproductive development, genetics, molecular biology, and cancer biology.
    • The third block – Food to Fuel - encompasses gastro-intestinal system, nutrition, energy, metabolism and biochemistry.
    • The fourth block – Homeostasis - includes cardiovascular system, pulmonary system, renal system, cell regulation, and pharmacology.
    • The fifth block – Host Defense and Host Response - focuses on host defense, microbiology, blood, skin, and the auto-immune system.
    • The sixth block – Cognition, Sensation and Movement - is comprised of neurosciences, mind, and the musculoskeletal system.
      Assessment Week is the final week of blocks 2-6. During this week, no new material is introduced. Learning activities are planned to help students review concepts introduced earlier in the block by presenting these concepts again, sometimes in new contexts, and now integrated with other concepts previously learned. End of block assessment takes place during the reflection and integration week. 

  2. Research and Scholarship: The WR2 Curriculum increases Case’s emphasis on research and scholarship to encourage student career development in the areas of basic science, clinical investigation, and population-based research. The practice of medicine is becoming increasingly evidence- and science-based, and research teaches students a way of thinking that makes them better doctors. The focus on research and scholarship provides medical students with opportunities to pursue individualized areas of interest in great depth. Through this 16-week, mentored experience in research and scholarship (which can be taken at any point from March of the second year onward), students acquire the intellectual tools needed to formulate research questions, critically assess scientific literature, and continue the life-long pursuit of learning that is a critical aspect in the careers of all physicians and physician-scientists. The research project culminates in a thesis, which is written in the format of a manuscript of the leading journal in the particular area of interest. 
  3. Clinical Experiences: The clinical curriculum cuts across all four years of the medical school curriculum, and can be divided into the two major areas of involvement (also see Acting Internships in section #4 below)
    1. Foundations of Clinical Medicine (Block 8): This segment of the clinical curriculum runs longitudinally through the Foundations of Medicine and Health and seeks to develop a broad range of clinical and professional capabilities. Block 8 develops the necessary skill sets through four separate, but integrated, programs:
      • Tuesday Seminars:  Course continues the theme of "doctoring" begun in Block 1 through the Year 1 and Year 2 curriculum. Topics examined include the relationship between the physician and the patient, the family, and the community; professionalism; healthcare disparities; cultural competence, quality improvement; law and medicine; medical error/patient safety; development of mindful practitioners and end-of-life issues.
      • Communications in Medicine:  Course is comprised of seven workshops running through Year 1 and Year 2 that focus on the range of skills needed for effectively talking with patients, including the basic medical interview, educating patients about a disease, counseling patients for health behavior change, and presenting difficult news and diagnosis.
      • Physical Diagnosis:  Course runs throughout Year 1 and Year 2 and includes:
        • Physical Diagnosis 1: introducing the basic adult exam to Year 1 students for one session per week for eight weeks.
        • Physical Diagnosis 2: in-depth regional exams in various formats during Year 1 and Year 2.
        • Physical Diagnosis 3: students in Year 2 spend five sessions doing complete histories, physicals and write-ups on patients they see in an in-patient setting.
      • Patient-Based Programs: 
        • CPCP (Community Patient Care Preceptorship) During either Year 1 or Year 2, students spend 11 afternoons in a community physician's office developing and reinforcing medical interviewing and physical exam and presentation skills (written and oral) with ongoing mentorship from a preceptor and an innovative online curriculum.
    2. Core Clinical Rotations:  The Core Clinical Rotations that begin after successful completion of Foundations of Medicine and Health are a part of the joint clinical curriculum that is shared by both the University and College Programs. 

      Beginning in March after Foundations of Medicine and Health, students undertake their core clinical rotations: Core 1 (Family Medicine, Geriatrics and Internal Medicine), Core 2 (Pediatrics and OB/Gyn), Core 3 (Neuroscience and Psychiatry), and Core 4 (Emergency Medicine and Surgery). Cores 1 and 2 are 12 weeks in duration and Cores 3 and 4 are 8 weeks. Each of these clinical rotations is offered at all of the School of Medicine’s hospital affiliates (including University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, the Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth Medical Center and the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center).

      Students experience both the breadth and depth of health and disease, with opportunities to reinforce, build upon, and transfer knowledge and skills. Clinical learning is integrated across disciplines whenever possible, and the roles of basic science, civic professionalism, scholarship, and population health in clinical care are addressed. Students have patient care responsibilities that are progressive in complexity and increase as their level of clinical skill and knowledge increases. Learning objectives and assessment methods are the same for a given rotation, regardless of the clinical site



  1. Advanced Clinical and Scientific Studies: Advanced clinical and scientific studies provide students with flexible learning opportunities that support ongoing professional development and residency preparation and planning:
          • Two Acting Internships are required: one in Internal Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, or Inpatient Family Medicine, and one in an area of student choice.
          • Students are encouraged to augment their interest in scholarship through rotations and activities that focus on sciences basic to medicine as well as clinical rotations.

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Revised 3/07/17