The Interdisciplinary Generalist Curriculum (IGC) Project was one element of an overall federal government strategy designed to promote primary care education. This project, undertaken by the Division of Medicine and Dentistry (DMD), Bureau of Health Professions, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was the first large-scale medical education contract initiated by DMD.
The IGC Project was based on a model proposed by the Primary Care Organizations Consortium (PCOC). The PCOC thesis was that “if students are to decide to pursue a generalist career they must have the opportunity to be taught by generalists.” The PCOC Program required an explicit curriculum focusing on generalist knowledge and skills with an emphasis on technology, in the context of education that required training in ambulatory office-based settings. The PCOC Program specified that responsibility for the program's planning, implementation, and evaluation be shared by the three generalist physician faculties of family medicine, general internal medicine, and general pediatrics.
In implementation of this demonstration project in ten medical schools across the nation, several lessons have been learned relative to enhancement of generalist education. Among these lessons is that seed money targeted to initiate modest change can act as a catalyst and improve the knowledge and skills afforded medical students concerning generalist practice. Limited funds provided over a sufficient period of time can induce schools to undertake significant curricular change.