FS: "Scaling Barriers": Tools to vertically integrate foundational sciences into clerkship years
Date & Time
Thursday, June 17, 2021, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

Reforms in medical and healthcare curricula have called for a transition away from the traditional 2 year basic - 2-year clinical science model to empathize clinical relevance of foundations, start clinical exposure earlier, and encourage vertical integration to promote learner encapsulation.  Many schools have transitioned to shorter preclinical curricula with the goal of moving foundational education into clerkships.  Spiral curricular models exist for effective vertical integration, and evidence supports that integration of foundational and clinical sciences is essential for encapsulation, retention, and transference of foundational concepts to clinical practice.  However, institutions in all countries struggle with implementation of vertical integration, especially with revisiting or building upon foundational concepts during clinical years.  Despite the benefits to learning associated with this approach, barriers to execution include logistics, faculty issues, limited tools, and insufficient strategies.  The goals of this session are to present examples of highly successful virtual and non-virtual processes for integrating foundational sciences into clerkships from respected pharmacology educators at multiple institutions, to describe how technology and digital resources can help scale some barriers, and to promote interactive collaborative discussion on best practices and teaching tools to overcome barriers to vertical integration at institutions in any country. 


  1. Describe effective and innovative processes for revisiting foundational sciences during clerkship presented from examples at 3 different medical schools.
  2. Identify how recent educational technology innovations and virtual tools can overcome traditional logistical barriers to vertical integration.
  3. Discuss in small groups foundational topics or disciplines that you feel should be revisited in clerkships to facilitate vertical integration.
  4. Share successful examples from participants' institutions & identify 2-3 reasons for approach effectiveness.
  5. Identify barriers and challenges to revisiting foundational sciences using virtual or other approaches.
  6. Propose solutions for the challenges your group identified.
  7. Synthesize information from small groups during large group discussion to extrapolate best practices generalizable to multiple medical and healthcare schools in varied settings. 
Michelle Duffourc Robert Theobald