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Interstitial Curriculum (ISC): Program Highlights

Many topics essential to medical practice are overlooked by traditional undergraduate medical education. These topics often intersect multiple disciplines, represent significant public health concerns and demand that physicians collaborate with non-medical organizations or with providers from other disciplines. Moreover, these topics emphasize physicians' social responsibilities in addressing concerns that may fall outside the traditional biomedical domain. The Interstitial Curriculum is highly relevant to many aspects of the practice of medicine but not restricted to any medical practice area.

In 1994, the undergraduate curriculum committees at UMass Chan Medical School identified areas of curriculum deficiency and collaborated to develop an innovative format to address these needs. It was a priority to teach this material when it could be immediately reinforced during clerkship training in the third year of medical school. Hence the ISC Program was launched in 1995.

The program has grown throughout the years, currently encompassing 12 Interstitial days. The ISCs undergo continual revision and new content has been added to respond to changing curricular needs. For the last two years, student-driven content was added to ensure curricular needs are addressed as they arise.

By collaborating with the Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing, we use Interprofessional teams to put patients’ interests first, improve advocacy for patients and ensure just distribution of finite resources.