Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Patient-centered Medicine Scholars Program Curriculum

Details on the M1, M2 and M4 years

M1: Foundations of Patient-centered Care Heading link

The primary goal for the M1 year is for students to experience, through their work with patients, key aspects of patient-centered care. These include understanding the patient as a whole person, developing an effective patient-provider relationship, establishing common ground for a working partnership, and incorporating health promotion and disease prevention.

Key learning activities

M1 PCM Scholars will assist their respective faculty preceptors in the care and management of selected patients. Students will see their patients with their respective preceptors in the preceptor’s clinic, and will maintain contact with patients over time through additional activities such as the following:

  • Accompanying them on visits to specialists
  • Visiting them in the hospital, if they are admitted
  • Following-up clinic visits via telephone or email, when needed
  • Providing preventive health education
  • Assisting patients to identify and utilize community resources that may be beneficial to them

In addition to clinical sessions with preceptors and follow-up activities with patients, PCM Scholars will participate in small group sessions to discuss key ideas and strategies regarding patient-centered care.


M2: Patient-centered Care for Vulnerable Populations Heading link

The primary goal for the M2 year is to enable students to apply key concepts of patient-centered care to underserved vulnerable populations, particularly those who are afflicted with HIV/AIDS, the homeless, victims of domestic violence, immigrant & refugee groups and/or the elderly. Students also will learn about effective programmatic and policy approaches, particularly the role of community agencies, to address the needs of at-risk vulnerable populations.

Students also can maintain contact with some of their patients from the M1 year, under the continuing supervision of their M1 preceptor.

Key learning activities

Working under the guidance of a faculty concentration leader, M2 PCM Scholars will participate in a Service Learning Program in which they will work closely with a community agency that serves a particular underserved population.

Each PCM Scholar will:

  • Select an area of concentration (HIV/AIDS, homelessness, domestic violence, immigrant & refugee health, or geriatrics)
  • Adopt at least one underserved patient from a community agency and assist him/her to prioritize and address their most important health and well being needs
  • Assist their patient(s) to access and utilize clinical care and services
  • Participate in group patient education sessions at the community agency, as needed.

In addition to clinical sessions with concentration leaders, students also will participate in sessions at designated community sites and discussion seminars. Students will share what they have learned at an end-of-year Service Learning Program gathering.

M4: Interprofessional Approaches to Health Disparities Heading link

The primary goal of the M4 year is to prepare students to be future leaders in improving health care for underserved populations. The Interprofessional Approaches to Health Disparities program (IAHD) is an interprofessional elective for 4th year medicine and pharmacy students and Master’s level nursing and public health students. It is offered through the UIC Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Dentistry and the School of Public Health, and with faculty from the participating schools.

M4 IAHD Scholars will elect to participate in a longitudinal self-designed elective, during which they will participate in mentored community-based participatory research (CBPR) and quality improvement (QI) projects designed to provide learners with essential skills to improve health care for underserved populations. Students will build on knowledge and skills necessary for practicing patient-centered care and will acquire core competencies in community-based participatory research (CBPR), quality improvement (QI), and public health.

The Interprofessional Approaches to Health Disparities (IAHD) is a longitudinal interprofessional course offered during the Fall and Spring semesters for health professions students at UIC.


The goal of the elective is to equip learners with essential skills to improve health care for underserved populations and transform health disparities through interprofessional education, research and collaborative practice.

Learning objectives

Participation in the IAHD will enable trainees to:

  • Effectively engage in identifying and addressing social determinants of health impacting vulnerable populations
  • Acquire working knowledge and hands-on experience with community-based participatory research (CBPR) and quality improvement (QI) methods
  • Develop and carry out an interprofessional community-based research project designed to improve health care access, communication, care coordination, or additional priority issues for vulnerable populations
  • Develop skills for functioning as effective members of interprofessional teams
  • Develop skills for leadership, advocacy and scholarship.


In the current era of health care reform and redesign, new models of health care delivery need careful integration with innovative models of health professions education. Traditional health professions education takes place in silos, with limited opportunities for doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, and other health professionals to learn and practice in interprofessional teams during their formative years. A wealth of evidence supports the usefulness of interprofessional training for effective health care delivery, building collaborative linkages among health professionals and communities, and thereby facilitating the provision of patient-centered care, a cornerstone of quality designated by the Institute of Medicine.Based on consensus by UIC health professional schools, a curriculum structure that integrates longitudinal public health education, with CBPR and QI research, in an interprofessional learning environment, is essential for preparing health care leaders with skills to effectively address the rising burden of key primary care and public health concerns.

Key learning activities

Trainees will work in interprofessional teams and will engage in a series of didactic (in person and online) and experiential learning activities, including CBPR and QI training, as well as research development and implementation, designed to provide learners with essential skills to improve health care for underserved populations.

Interprofessional teams will have the opportunity to work with our collaborating community agencies serving vulnerable populations. Students will be able to design research studies around important health issues, including Geriatrics, HIV/AIDS, Homelessness, Immigrant & Refugee Health, Incarcerated Populations and Intimate Partner Violence.

NOTE: The course may not offer all concentrations in a given year based on availability of community partners. Immigrant & Refugee Health concentration is not offered in 2023‐2024.

CBPR & QI training

Participants will receive training on CBPR and QI methods during the course. Training sessions will be led by faculty from the various health professions schools represented in the program.

CBPR & QI Research

Interprofessional teams will be formed and will engage in a process of mentored research development to identify and address priority health needs of vulnerable populations served by our partnering community agencies. Selecting, planning and evaluating pilot tests will inform and guide best practices. The Collaborative Model will employ a team‐based approach, working closely with the faculty leaders and student teams to assist the community agencies in conducting careful needs assessment and piloting small changes through PDSA cycles. The principal focus of CBPR‐QI projects will be to determine desired outcomes in collaboration with the stakeholders. For example, a desired outcome might be improvement in access to and retention in high quality, competent care and services for vulnerable patients who have never been in care or who have dropped out of care. Teams will identify priority issues and QI pilot tests that are most likely to succeed and plan small‐scale implementation; create joint ownership of projects; develop research design and methodology including action steps; implement projects; evaluate impacts; and tailor interventions based on findings.

Learning activities will be grounded in reflection, self‐awareness, collaborative learning and applied practice to successfully promote student acquisition of core competencies to address health needs of vulnerable populations:

  • Students will participate in seminars, hands‐on immersion work at the community agencies, and as well as leadership and advocacy activities.
  • Students will synthesize and disseminate their work, in discussions and in writing, and will present at an end‐of‐course concluding event. They will also be encouraged to present at national and local scientific meetings.
  • Students will submit reflections which will be published in a program publication.

Who is the elective open to?

The M4 elective will be open to all medical students who participate in the M2 component of the program. Eligibility for Public Health, Nursing, Pharmacy and Dentistry students will be determined by their respective Colleges. Students will be supervised by Program faculty.