Curriculum Initiatives

Integrated Clinical Arts

For the past several years, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University (AMS) has held an annual half-day Integrated Clinical Arts (ICA) event for all of our first year medical students. The purpose of the Integrated Clinical Arts session is to spark creativity and foster new ways of thinking about complex medical issues. These interactive workshops allow students to explore topics in the medical curriculum from the diverse perspectives of other disciplines. The workshops have been very popular in the past and continue to improve based on feedback. Students chose from a wide variety of workshop offerings such as: mindfulness retreat, figure sculpture, medical illustration, horsemanship and medicine, improvisational acting, improvisational music, music and dance, yoga, journalism, writing and medicine, photography, poetry, and others.

Interprofessional Education 

AMS in conjunction with its partner institutions (The University of Rhode Island; Rhode Island College; Salve Regina University) provide a robust interprofessional education experience for all students.  Second year medical students participate in two interprofessional workshops with nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy and social work students.  These workshops focus on important topics in medicine, such as substance use, with an additional emphasis on delivering skills such as leadership and teamwork in the health professions. 

In addition, students work interprofessionally in clinic sites, such as at the Rhode Island Free Clinic, where medical students across all four years, work side by side with nursing and pharmacy students, in providing care to patients.  In addition, other electives, such as the Rhode Island Medical Navigator Partnership, allow students to learn in the classroom together about important areas of medicine, such as homelessness and then help navigate a patient through the health care system together.  AMS is committed to continuing to develop additional opportunities, such as these, to enrich our students' interprofessional education.

Quality Improvement and Patient Safety

AMS is a national leader in providing our students with early quality improvement (QI) and patient safety (PS) training. Our preclinical curriculum incorporates early training using a multi-modal approach, thus meeting the needs of students with different learning preferences. Year I curricular components include completion of asynchronous online learning modules, a lecture given by an expert in QI/PS, and an interactive workshop. Between Years I and II, students read a book by Atul Gawande (The Checklist Manifesto) that serves a basis for a reflection exercise, a small group cardiovascular case incorporates QI/PS considerations, and in our Doctoring course students are taught to use a framework for disclosing medical errors in a simulated setting. Additional content is incorporated into our Clinical Skills Clerkship before students enter Year III. AMS is committed to continuing to develop a robust QI/PS longitudinal curriculum that will build upon this preclinical foundation.

Race and Medicine

The Race and Medicine Curriculum is an ongoing curricular development effort by the Office of Medical Education focused on both student awareness education and faculty development activities. Teaching and learning initiatives will be revised or developped  based on continual evaluation from student and faculty feedback.  The Race and Medicine Curriculum is informed by the Medical School's Task Force on Race and Medicine and based on faculty and student-led initiatives.


  1. Students gain an increased awareness and understanding of the complexity of bias in medical practice and research.
  2. Students identify the social problem of health disparities, the different interpretations of their causes, and how they relate to clinical practice by working individually and in interprofessional teams.
  3. Students apply interdisciplinary perspectives on health inequality research, focusing on how assumptions about race and racism inform beliefs, practices, and scientific research.
  4. Students articulate the major issues involved in the contemporary controversy over race, health, and genetics. Specifically, they identify explicit and structural biases influencing medical practice, and reflect on their own individual biases and how these may influence patient care.
  5. Students, faculty, and providers participate in workshops to probe the subtle and not so subtle everyday forms of racism as it plays out in the medical workplace, clinical encounter, and research design.
  6. Students develop skills to critically evaluate the literature on race, racism, health, and structural inequality.
  7. Students have opportunities and resources to develop interdisciplinary scholarly projects to contribute to new knowledge on the topic of race, racism and medicine.


AMS has developed an integrated, longitudinal curriculum in hands-on ultrasound training for all students in Year 1 and Year 2.  

Students begin their ultrasound training in Year 1, with an introductory module on ultrasound knobology, followed by three modules (on the thorax, abdomen and musculoskeletal system).  The content in these modules are integrated with other course content, meaning that students will dissect the thorax in anatomy at the same time they are learning hands-on echocardiography.  

In Year 2, ultrasound is integrated into the first semester organ system courses.  Students gain experience in hands-on echocardiography in the Cardiovascular course; the lung window in the Pulmonary course; the kidneys and bladder in the Renal course; the thyroid in the Endocrine course and the pelvis in the Human Reproduction course.  In addition, during the Clinical Skills Clerkship, students put their two years of training together to consolidate their learning in conducting a FAST exam.  

In Year 3, both the Family Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology clerkships incorporate ultrasound teaching into their didactic sessions and we are looking at opportunities to incorporate in ultrasound teaching into additional clerkships.  

Finally, students also have the opportunity to take a 4th year ultrasound elective to capstone their experiences with faculty in the Emergency Medicine department.