The Interdisciplinary Generalist Curriculum (IGC) Project at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine (Nebraska) had three goals: (1) to increase first- and second-year students' exposure to primary care practice in the community; (2) to develop specific educational programs introducing these students to the principles and practices of primary care medicine; and (3) to establish a generalist coordinating council to provide leadership and to nurture generalist educational initiatives in the College of Medicine. Students at Nebraska were already required to spend three half-days a semester in a longitudinal clinical experience (LCE) and to complete a three-week primary care block experience in the summer between the first and second years. IGC Project funds were used increase the number of required LCE visits to five a semester and to develop curricular enhancements that would maximize the educational potential of community-based clinical experiences for first- and second-year students. Curricular elements developed included a focus on faculty development for preceptors and development of the Primary Care Introduction to Medicine Curriculum, an eight-week, interdisciplinary module scheduled late in the first year to help prepare students for intensive summer rotations. Other developments were the implementation of a pediatric physical examination experience for firstyear students and the implementation of instruction in community-oriented primary care in the second year. Lessons learned are related to: (1) the value and power of early clinical experiences; and (2) the enhancing effect of a holistic, longitudinal view of the curriculum on the planning of early clinical experiences.
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