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Health Systems Science

Penn State College of Medicine was one of the first medical schools in the country to implement Health Systems Science into the curriculum. Penn State College of Medicine is considered a major national leader in Health Systems Science curriculum. The Patient Experience Program is a one of a kind that provides students the opportunity to work directly with a patient the first day of medical school.

Patient Experience Program Objectives
Build Longitudinal Patient Relationships
Take Patient History and Screen for Social Determinants of Health
Identify and Address Gaps of Social Determinants of Health
Become Part of the Team

Through the Science of Health Systems courses (SHS711 and SHS721), High value level care and quality improvement are part of a robust curriculum with students winning national competitions in both.

The Translating Healthcare Science to the Clinical Setting course (THS743) is designed to help fourth-year medical students apply concepts of patient safety, quality improvement, value and teams to the clinical setting and provide an introduction to public health.

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Learn More About Health Systems Science for MD Students

Health Systems Science Curriculum Expand answer

The Science of Health Systems courses are offered throughout the fall and spring semesters of year one and the fall semester of year two.

Course Themes

Core domains covered by the Science of Health Systems courses include:

  • Structures and processes
  • Policy and economics
  • Clinical informatics
  • Public and population health
  • Value-based care
  • Health systems improvement

Cross-cutting domains include:

  • Leadership and change agency
  • Teamwork
  • Evidence-based medicine
  • Professionalism and ethics
  • Scholarship

These themes are taught using this sequence:

  • Year 1, Fall: Patient experience; evidence-based medicine: health systems and reform
  • Year 1, Spring: Population and public health; socio-ecological medicine
  • Year 2, Fall: Preparation for clerkships; improvement, leadership and change

A thread of teamwork and leadership follows students throughout these classes and experiences.

Translating Health Systems Science to the Clinical Setting

The art of translating health systems science to the clinical setting includes many parts.

Educational components include:

  • Public and community health
  • Health systems
  • Health systems improvement
  • Transitions of care
  • Patient safety

Methods for teaching and learning include:

  • Large-group lectures and discussions
  • Small-group discussions
  • Case-based learning
  • Experiential learning
  • Team projects
  • Simulation

See the full MD curriculum sequence

Patient Experience Expand answer

A key part of the longitudinal Systems Navigation Curriculum is the patient experience.

As patient navigators students begin learning about health care delivery in their first year of study by serving as guides, helping patients navigate through the sometimes complicated process of getting the care they need.

Through patient experience and the three health systems courses, students begin to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes to function effectively amid the complexities of an evolving health system.

Learn more about Patient Experience

Meet the Health Systems Science Team Expand answer
Latest News in Health Systems Science Expand answer