Medical Education

Curriculum Initiatives

Curriculum initiatives enrich the learning environment at Brown and advance teaching and scholarship in medical education.

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 first year medical students. The purpose of the ICA event 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. 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, among others.

Interprofessional Education

AMS in conjunction with its partner institutions (The University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and 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 & Patient Safety

AMS is a national leader in providing our students with early quality improvement (QI) and patient safety (PS) training. Our pre-clerkship curriculum incorporates early training using a multi-modal approach meeting the needs of students with different learning preferences. Year 1 curricular components include completion of asynchronous online learning modules, a lecture given by an expert in QI/PS, and an interactive workshop. Between Years 1 and 2, students read The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande that serves a basis for a reflection exercise.  In Year 2, 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 3.  In the surgical clerkship in Year 3, students also participate in a quality improvement project.

Diversity & Inclusion

The Diversity and Inclusive Teaching and Learning initiative 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 are revised and developed based on continual evaluation from student and faculty feedback. The curriculum is informed by the Medical Curriculum Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusive Teaching and Learning.


AMS developed an integrated, longitudinal hands-on ultrasound curriculum 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.  For example, students dissect the thorax in anatomy while 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 RUSH exam.  

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

Opioid Use Prevention & Treatment

The Warren Alpert Medical School received funding through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for the project, “Training Health Professional Students in Rhode Island to Provide Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral for Treatment (SBIRT)”.  As part of this grant, medical students and internal medicine residents from the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University (AMS), nursing and social work students from Rhode Island College (RIC), and pharmacy students from the University of Rhode Island (URI) have screened over 6,800 individuals and provided over 1,500 with intervention in the past three years.

In addition, the Warren Alpert Medical School hosts an annual symposium focused on the pressing issue of opioid misuse in the region.  This event brings in controlled substance experts to explain current rules and regulations on opioids, and explore alternative therapies and best practices for providing opioids to ensure better care for patients in Rhode Island and the surrounding New England area.

The project has a profound impact in Rhode Island which, with a population of just over one million, has the highest use of illicit drugs in the United States and the highest rate of overdose deaths in the Northeast.