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This is the final published version of the article from the Journal of Medical Education and Curricular Development, 2022 Feb 24;9:1–9

The article can also be found at the journal's website

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Publication made possible in part by support from the Jefferson Open Access Fund


Problem: Health systems science (HSS) curricula in medical schools facilitate an understanding of social determinants of health (SDOH) and their impact on health outcomes. After implementation of an experiential, patient-centered program based around SDOH screening, however, our medical college noted poor student receptivity and engagement. In order to improve the program, we chose a design thinking approach based on the perceived value of actively engaging learners in the design of education. The role of design thinking in curricular quality improvement, however, remains unclear.

Intervention: We sought to determine if a current educational model for SDOH screening could be improved by reforming the curriculum using a design thinking workshop involving student and faculty stakeholders.

Context: The current study is a retrospective analysis of first-year medical student, end-of-year evaluations of the Clinical Experience (CE) program at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College before (2018-19) and after (2019-20) implementation of the design thinking workshop and subsequent curriculum changes

Impact: Overall positive results significantly increased across all survey questions after the curricular intervention (p < 0.01), indicating increased student satisfaction with the revised curriculum.

Lessons Learned: Few studies assess outcomes of design thinking-driven curricular changes. The current study of an SDOH screening program details the implementation of initiatives that originated from a design thinking sprint and assesses program evaluations following these curricular changes. Most of the well-received curricular changes concerned improvements in student training, patient screening and follow-up, and the leveraging of existing technology. The study reinforces the importance of co-creation among stakeholders when redesigning medical curricula.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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