Improvement Summary

LCME Quality Improvement Focus Areas

The Medical School has been working hard to address our LCME citations over the past year. There are 5 Focus Areas the school was cited on related to student satisfaction. A summary of the efforts to improve these areas are below.


Improvements in Educational Facilities

  • As of July 2020, students on the Twin Cities have access to the $108.6 million Health Sciences Education Center (HSEC) providing 202,000 gross square feet of active classrooms, a multi-floor, state-of-the-art simulation center, individual and small groups study and relaxation spaces, and library services
  • Students in Duluth have access to the $1.2 million remodel of classroom, study spaces, conference rooms, and relaxation spaces, all of which was completed in April 2021 (Photo)

Improvements in Study, Relaxation, Secure Storage Facilities on Campus

  • With the full opening of the HSEC in July 2020, Twin Cities students can take advantage of student lounges, wellbeing spaces, dedicated study rooms and casual seating throughout
  • Students on both campuses can utilize a newly created online virtual tour experience that helps students identify and locate study spaces on the medical school campuses, and access room reservation services
  • Twin Cities students can also take advantage of the 6th floor Mayo conference rooms utilizing newly installed key code locks and scheduling system
  • With the Duluth remodel completed in April 2021, students can take advantage of upgraded study spaces with electrical outlets (Photo) as well as a relaxation (lunch room) space with new furnishings and full kitchen (Photo)
  • Students on both campuses have access to assigned, secure lockers for long-term storage

Improvements in Study, Relaxation, Secure Storage Facilities at Clinical Sites

  • Students rotating at M Health Fairview are able to take advantage of a new 35-room call room suite completed in March 2021 with ‘hotel’ scheduling (email, secure locker space, relaxation lounge, and fitness facility (Photos)
  • Students can download the MedEd To Go App, recently updated to include medical student-specific information on clinical facilities and resources at primary clinical sites
  • Student feedback from clerkship evaluation questions about clinical facilities ensures faster responsiveness to concerns
  • Information collected by administration from surveys and onsite visits ensures clinical sites provide essential student spaces


Improvements in DEI & Caring for Patients from Different Backgrounds:

Students benefit from increased focus on DEI in curriculum and evaluations added since summer 2020 that include: 

  • The hiring of three DEI Thread Directors focusing on caring for patients from different backgrounds and expanded DEI content
  • An Anti-Racism Summer Reading Program
  • Systematic removal, contextualization, and/or elimination of race-based medicine presentations in the curriculum 
  • Creation of new DEI-specific didactic sessions in key courses such as ECM, Neuroscience, and Infectious Disease
  • Development of a “Black and Blue” Curriculum at the Duluth Campus.
  • Collecting, analyzing, and addressing feedback on DEI issues through course feedback cards
  • Collaborative work between Faculty, administration, and the Medical Education Student Reform Coalition (MERSC) have already resulted in significant actions to improve the student experience across the continuum of medical education 
  • Students experience an updated standardized patient program and simulation scenarios that offer improved diversity
  • Students receive advising from Academic Advisors trained as Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Qualified Administrators

Improvements in Interprofessional Education (IPE) in the Curriculum

  • Students experience constantly improving IPE activities through Better Together, Community Teacher and the Clinical Escape Room.  Student feedback about IPE has led to the streamlining of online and in-person components of Better Together, improving the Community Teacher debriefing session, and the piloting of a 1Health IPE simulation experience that will be formally implemented in spring 2022  
  • Students benefit from the integration of IPE experiences into courses such as POCC and HHDs
  • Students benefit from improved clarity and communication about the IPE purpose and expected competencies across the 4-year continuum of medical education that ensures IPE competency by Graduation 

Improvements in Preclerkship Phase Academic Workload & Independent Study Time 

  • A recently revised Academic Workload in the Preclerkship Phase Policy provides students with improved clarity and limits on academic workload (average 50 hours; not to exceed 60 hours) with scheduled time limited to an average of 25 hours a week to emphasize the importance of academic obligations and personal time balance 
  • Preclerkship and clerkship students are granted excused absences to address needed health care appointments that may conflict with courses or clinical shifts. This component of the Excused Absences Policy was enhanced for greater clarity in the most recent review from April 2021 
  • The Excused Absence Request process for Twin Cities preclerkship students was completely overhauled to make submitting, processing, and tracking requests easier

Planned Improvements in Curriculum

The improvements in DEI Content, IPE, and Workload outlined above will continue and be integrated into a new curriculum being developed for implementation in August 2023. This new curriculum will: 

  • Include a set of common course learning objectives mapped to the 34 Graduation Competencies 
  • Be a single, aligned preclerkship curriculum across both campuses with selective pathways for individualized learning, accessible to students on either campus 
  • Shorten the preclerkship phase to 16 months to enhance clinical experiences and career exploration opportunities

Advisement and Academic Progress

Improvements in Career Counseling

  • Since filling the role in spring 2019, Maija Braaten, Career Development & Residency Match Coordinator, provides students on both campuses with a robust, longitudinal career planning program
  • A newly developed Career Guidance & the Match web page assists students with navigating the career exploration process. It includes a 4-year timeline of what students can be doing at each phase of medical school. Topics include:
  • Since spring 2019, students have access to Specialty Mentors and Experts available to provide insight into Specialties and the Residency Application process 
  • Specialties information web page providing resources for each specialty
  • In fall 2021, the newly established Career and Professional Development Advisory Board provides a formal means for obtaining student feedback on career development programs to ensure all students’ career planning needs are met
  • Student utilization of the AAMC Careers in Medicine online portal is at an all-time high due to the career development curriculum and strategic partnerships with Faculty Advisors. This robust resource provides a wealth of data, articles, and assessments to inform the career exploration process 

Improvements to Counseling about Elective Choices

  • Selecting electives in preparation for Residency applications has been made easier through the creation of a list of recommended electives developed by department-specific specialty mentors
  • Year 3 students benefit from formal opportunities to reviews with Academic Advisors and Faculty Advisors to evaluate elective schedules for alignment with career choice and to ensure graduation requirements are being met
  • Year 2 Duluth students are connected with Twin Cities Academic Advisors to assist with transition planning, including assistance with the selection of Year 3 electives 
  • An online Clerkship Preparation Tool provides invaluable resources, including first-day planning, information on the clinical housing program, essential contacts, and much more


Improvements to the Accessibility of Mental Health Services, Including Personal Counseling

  • Since 2019, the Twin Cities has provided its students with FREE, short-term counseling services to medical students through its Confidential Bridging Counseling services (CBC) 
  • In spring 2021, staffing of the Twin Cities CBC was increased to two full-time therapists: Dr. Maryanne Reilly-Spong, and Dr. Habib Salama to provide expanded access and more flexible hours for clerkship students 
  • Since fall 2020, Duluth students have access to FREE Tele-Psychiatry with referral through the UMD Counseling Services
  • Through the UMD Health Services Counseling Department, Duluth students also have FREE access to eight licensed counselors for mental health and wellbeing support

Improvements to Student Wellbeing Programming

  • The Wellbeing Committee recently added a sub-committee to focus specifically on clinical student wellness to support community building during the clinical phase
  • Since the fall of 2020, students are assigned to one of three Houses that foster community and connection between medical students and between students and the medical school community
  • The medical school continues its efforts to improve student wellness in its educational program. This includes moving to Pass-Fail in the preclerkship phase in fall 2019, moving to Pass-Fail in the clerkship phase beginning in Academic Year 2021-2022, enhancing the Duty Hours Policy for clerkship students, and establishing clear guidelines for academic workload in the preclerkship phase
  • Students' mental health and wellness are further supported through the Pulse Surveys. A portion of these surveys assess students’ wellbeing in a more real-time manner that allows for proactive interventions, such as depression screenings, where needed

Improvements with Accessibility of Health Services by Medical Students

  • Preclerkship and clerkship students are granted excused absences to address needed health care appointments that may conflict with courses or clinical shifts. This component of the Excused Absences Policy was enhanced for greater clarity in the most recent review from April 2021 
  • The Excused Absence Request process for Twin Cities preclerkship students was completely overhauled to make submitting, processing, and tracking requests easier
  • Medical Students on both campuses continue to have access to Boynton Health Services (with or without the Student Health Plan), after-hours care facilities, mail order prescriptions, and telehealth options. Check out the full description regarding access to health care services here

Feedback & Assessment

Improvements in Clinical Skills & Formative Assessments in Required Clerkships

  • To ensure consistency, students are assessed across all required core clerkships using a standardized assessment performed by residents, fellows and faculty that includes mid-course formative feedback and end of course formative feedback
  • Clerkship students receive frequent, impactful formative feedback, including feedback on History and Physical Exam skills, through the establishment of the Assessment and Coaching Experts (ACEs) program starting in Academic Year 2021-2022. This program includes the hiring of 13 ACEs and a Director deployed at major clinical teaching sites
  • Clerkship students are now provided with updated syllabi that delineate the “relevant portion(s)” of the H&P examination that are to be observed during the clerkship
  • Improved and more frequent data collection and feedback to clerkship faculty and curriculum committees ensures benchmarks are met for observation of History & Physical examinations, mid-clerkship feedback, and clinical assessments
  • For AY 21-22, across all required clerkship evaluations, 95.9% of students report having been observed performing a physical/mental status exam, and 95.3% report having been observed taking a patient history (as of 12/17/21). 
  • For AY 21-22, across all required clerkship evaluations, 91.4% of students report having received mid-clerkship feedback (as of 12/18/21)