Educational Program Objectives and Competencies


for the Program Leading to the MD Degree   

As approved by the General Faculty, the Educational Policy Committee has established the following educational program objectives for the program leading to the MD degree.  The Educational Program Objectives are comprised of six competencies and the measurable objectives by which attainment of each competency can be assessed.

By the time of graduation, students will demonstrate the following:


Graduates obtain appropriate histories and perform skillful, comprehensive and accurate patient examinations. They develop appropriate differential diagnoses and patient care management plans. They recognize and understand the principles for managing life-threatening situations. They select, perform and accurately interpret the results of laboratory tests and clinical procedures in making patient care decisions, and use appropriate diagnostic and treatment technologies in providing patient care.  

Measurable Objectives for the Patient Care competency

Graduates will be able to: 

  • Obtain an accurate medical history that covers all essential aspects of the history 

  • Perform both a complete and an organ system specific examination 

  • Interpret the results and perform commonly used diagnostic procedures 

  • Reason deductively in solving clinical problems  

  • Construct appropriate management strategies (both diagnostic and therapeutic) for patients with common conditions, both acute and chronic, and those requiring short- and long-term rehabilitation

  • Provide appropriate care to diverse* patients

  • Recognize patients with immediate life threatening conditions regardless of etiology, and institute appropriate initial therapy 

  • Outline an initial course of management for patients with serious conditions requiring critical care 

  • Effectively work with health care professionals, including those from other disciplines, to provide patient-focused care 



Graduates apply problem solving and critical thinking skills to problems in basic science and clinical medicine. They demonstrate knowledge about (1) established and evolving core of basic sciences, (2) application of sciences to patient care, and (3) investigatory and analytical thinking approaches. 

Measurable Objectives for the Medical Knowledge competency

Graduates will demonstrate their knowledge in these specific domains: 

Core of Basic Sciences

  • The normal structure and function of the body as a whole and of each of the major organ systems 

  • The molecular, cellular and biochemical mechanisms in understanding homeostasis 

  • Cognitive, affective and social growth and development 

Application to Patient Care

  • The altered structure and function (pathology & pathophysiology) of the body/organs in disease 

  • The foundations of therapeutic intervention, including concepts of outcomes, treatments, and prevention, and their relationships to specific disease processes 

  • Information on the organization, financing and distribution of health care 

  • The influence of human diversity* on clinical care

  • The legal, ethical issues and controversies associated with medical practice 

Critical Thinking

  • The scientific method in establishing the cause of disease and efficacy of treatment, including principles of epidemiology and statistics 

  • The use of computer-based techniques to acquire new information and resources for learning  



Graduates are prepared to practice medicine within the context of society and its expectations. They use evidence-based approaches, demonstrating proficiency with information retrieval and critical appraisal of the medical literature to interpret and evaluate experimental and patient care information. They understand the limits of their own personal knowledge, remediate inadequacies to remain current, and integrate increased self-knowledge into their daily activities.  

Measurable objectives for the Practice-Based Learning and Improvement competency:

At the time of graduation, students have not yet established a practice but nonetheless will demonstrate an awareness of and an understanding of general principles for: 

Evaluating his/her own patient care practices, using systematic methodology 

Comparing own patient outcomes to larger studies of similar patient populations 

  • Using information technology to learn of new, most current practices on national and international levels 

  • Using quality assurance practices 

  • Pursuing continuing education to remediate or improve practice 

  • Attending (and presenting at) conferences relevant to his/her patient care 

  • Using on-line resources for most current information and education 

  • Using an evidence-based approach to decide or reject new experimental findings and approaches. 

  • Understanding and critically assessing articles in professional journals 

  • Understanding the requirements and steps for approval of new medicines and techniques 



Graduates must demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective information exchange and teaming with patients, patients’ families, and professional associates. They promote health behaviors through counseling of individual patients and their families, and through public education and action.

Measurable Objectives for the Interpersonal and Communication Skills competency:

Graduates will demonstrate:

  • The ability to create and sustain a therapeutic and ethically sound relationship with patients and their families 

  • Effective listening skills and the ability to elicit and provide information using effective nonverbal, explanatory, questioning and writing skills 

  • Ability to document and present patient data and clinical information in an organized, accurate, legible and/or verbally clear manner 

  • The ability to encourage patients’ health and wellness through appropriate patient education 



Graduates are committed to carrying out professional responsibilities, adhering to ethical principles, and demonstrating sensitivity to diverse patient populations. They are altruistic and compassionate in caring for patients and at all times act with integrity, honesty, and respect for patients’ privacy and for the dignity of patients as persons. Graduates are advocates for improving access to care for everyone. They are committed to working collaboratively with the health care team, and acknowledge and respect the roles of other health professionals. Graduates recognize their limitations and seek improvements in their knowledge and skills.  

Measurable objectives for the Professionalism competency:

Graduates will exemplify a professional character that exhibits: 

  • Compassionate treatment of patients

  • Respect for patients’ privacy, dignity and diversity*

  • Integrity, reliability, dependability, truthfulness in all interactions with patients, their families and professional colleagues 

  • A responsiveness to the needs of patients and society that supersedes self-interest. 

  • The skills to advocate for improvements in the access of care for everyone, especially those traditionally underserved 

  • A commitment to excellence and on-going learning, recognizing their limitations of knowledge, and the skills to effectively address their learning needs 

  • Knowledge of and a commitment to uphold ethical principles in such areas as the provision of care, maintaining confidentiality, and gaining informed consent 

  • An understanding of and respect for the contributions of other health care disciplines and professionals, and appropriate participation, initiative and cooperation as a member of the health care team 



Graduates demonstrate awareness of and responsiveness to the large context and system of health care. They are able to effectively call on system resources to provide optimal care. Graduates are able to work with patients both as individuals and as members of communities and take this into account when performing risk assessments, diagnosing illnesses, making treatment plans and considering the public health implications of their work. 

Measurable objectives for the Systems-Based Practice and Population Health competency:

Graduates will evince: 

  • An understanding of how patient care and professional practices affect health care professionals, the health care organization, and the larger society and how these elements of the system affect their own practice
  •  Knowledge about how types of medical practice and delivery systems differ from one another, including methods of controlling health care costs and allocating resources
  • The ability to practice cost-effective health care and resource allocation that does not compromise quality of care
  • An advocacy for quality patient care and access for all people, including the underserved, and assist patients in dealing with system complexities
  • The capacity to partner with health care managers and health care providers to assess, coordinate and improve health care and know how these activities can affect system performance
  • An understanding of the physician’s role and responsibilities to promote the health of the community and the underlying principles of preventive medicine and population-based health care delivery
  • The ability to acquire relevant information about the health of populations or communities and use this information to provide appropriate services
  • How to appropriately mobilize community-based resources and services while planning and providing patient care


* “Diversity” is understood to include race, sex, ethnicity, culture, ability, disability, socioeconomic status, talents, language, religion, spiritual practices, sexual orientation, gender identity, geographic region, age, country of origin and life experiences. 


Approved by the ArizonaMed Steering Committee 2004
Approved by the Curriculum Committee 04/02/2008
Reaffirmed by the Educational Policy Committee 12/16/2009; 06/16/2010;06/15/2011;06/20/2012

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