Implementation of the Interdisciplinary Generalist Curriculum Project: Considerations of Structure, Funding, and Design

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Implementation of the Interdisciplinary Generalist Curriculum (IGC) Project involved complex processes that reflect structural, funding, and intervention design considerations. Among structural considerations, the IGC Project benefited from a national structure above the level of the demonstration schools. Governance by committee was highly effective because it harnessed and balanced power. At the national level, governance by committee was enhanced by strong central coordination, and it had a role-modeling effect for governance at the school level. The IGC experience over the seven-year course of the project suggests that it is important to revisit the role of a national advisory committee over time and to revise that role as warranted.Funding considerations, including the importance of funding evaluation for a period of time long enough to measure intended impacts and the length and amount of funding to demonstration schools, are discussed. Prescription of the IGC intervention and the focus on years one and two of medical education are critical design considerations. The authors conclude that the IGC Project used relatively few federal dollars to demonstrate a highly prescribed intervention in a limited number of medical schools toward a clear and limited goal. IGC lessons apply to programs specifically targeting primary care education, but also to other medical school curricular innovations, and perhaps, to a larger framework of multi-site educational interventions.

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