UMed Curriculum 2018-01-18T13:01:15+00:00

Curriculum Framework

UMed is a longitudinal, four-year curriculum that takes advantage of UIC’s location and breadth of clinical and community opportunities to prepare physician-leaders for urban communities. Graduates of the UMed curriculum will be equipped to deal with the challenges confronting the urban population, regardless of which specialty they enter. Their professional careers will encompass one or more of the areas described below.


  • Provides the highest quality of patient care in a safe, culturally sensitive environment that respects and celebrates the background and customs of patients and families
  • Endeavors to improve long term quality of life for patients and their families through the integration of medical services with other pertinent resources


  • Consistently works with his/her community on behalf of families to empower them to have not only adequate and quality medical care, but also the resources to maximize health and well being
  • Educates local, county, state and Federal elected officials on the medical and health promotion needs of his/her community
  • Engages community institutions and businesses to find solutions for common community concerns


  • Designs or collaborates with researchers on projects that aim to understand and improve the quality of life, reduce disparities in access or quality of care, and/or prevent disease
  • Improves participation in and relevance of research projects in the community by connecting local community leaders with academic researchers
  • Facilitates the application of translational research findings to community issues


  • Seeks to engage in public policy deliberations, either at the local, county, state or Federal levels in agencies or non-governmental

Curriculum Details

Each year students participate in six to eight in-class seminars that develop and enhance their understanding on the general themes. In preparation for each session, students read scholarly articles and reports and work in small groups to interactively address issues. In the first-year students also prepare to begin a longitudinal rotation in local community or social service agencies/organizations that continues through the fourth-year of medical school. The goal of the rotation is to provide first-hand experience with community program design, implementation and evaluation.

UMed students take the same required courses as their classmates. Whenever possible, UMed students work together as formal groups. For example, in Essentials of Clinical Medicine (ECM), a two-year course sequence, UMed students stay together as “Working Groups” and collaborate on course components —Special Topics mini-courses, projects, service-learning opportunities, etc. — that complement the formal curricular sessions.

In the third year, UMed students participate in all required clerkships and are assigned to specific placements based on availability. They come together throughout the academic year to discuss cross-cultural clinical and other issues they encounter and reflect upon various approaches used at their individual assignment. In addition, UMed students are required to complete online modules surrounding cultural competency and communication skills.

Senior UMed students complete the community rotation and are also encouraged to design electives to delve more deeply into cultural issues that impact medical care, or take advantage of opportunities for clinical work outside the US. UMed students also complete an online module discussing leadership in healthcare.

Finally, UMed students are encouraged (but not required) to complete the Joint MD/MPH degree program. This option can be completed in five years. A student interested in the joint degree program should consult with the Office of Special Curricular Programs during the first semester in medical school. If admitted, the student begins course work the following summer.

The Urban Medicine Program provides its students with a curriculum presented in both in-person and online seminars. The curriculum is intended to function as a support for the student’s longitudinal community rotation project.

Seminar Overview

Year One:
Participation in 6-8 Seminars
focused on:

Chicago Community Health Disparities Community-Based Participatory Research Introduction to Evaluation Introduction to Policy

Year Two:
Participation in 6-8 Seminars that delve deeper into issues presented in year one. Some topics include:

Community Epidemiology
Disparities in Patient Interaction
Evaluation of Community Projects
Policy and Advocacy 

Year Three:
Participation in 2-3 online seminars on communication and negotiation.

Year Four:
Participation in the UMed 2-week Policy and Advocacy Forum.

The goals of the Longitudinal Community Rotation are to:

  • Develop a relationship with a community
  • Participate in wellness or prevention at the community level
  • Provide first-hand experience with community program design, implementation and evaluation.


The LCR is a requirement for all UMed students. Each student is expected to:

  1. Spend at least 200 hours on their project over the course of 4 years
  2. Complete check-ins, reports, and evaluations by each deadline
  3. Participate in a collaborative fashion with their organization and their team
  4. Turn in one of the following final projects:
    1. A program evaluation paper;
    2. A grant proposal for a related community project or;
    3. A community-based participatory research proposal.