For students committed to pursuing careers in primary care medicine, the PCS COD offers an enriched curriculum that parallels the regular medical curriculum at COM-P. Five themes comprise the core of the PCS experience for students. These themes are Scholarship, Health policy and population health, Leadership, Information Mastery, and Clinical Practice.

  • Scholarship: Every student at COM-P designs and successfully completes a scholarly project (SP) or alternative project. PCS students will work closely with their mentors and the Scholarly Project Course unit throughout the four years of their primary care scholarly project. During their fourth year, the students submit a final poster and thesis summarizing their primary care SP. Each student will present the poster at the annual Student Research Symposium. The PCS students also provide an oral slide presentation to the PCS faculty. Students will be encouraged to submit projects for presentation at national meetings such as the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine annual conference.
  • Health policy and population health: Students will attend talks by public health and population health specialists on topics related to health care policy and the impact of these policies on patient care. Students also learn ways physicians may engage in advocacy and may pursue specific public health issues of interest to them including health services and health outcomes research projects. Those students interested in public health and policy may delve more deeply into these issues by pursuing a master’s degree in public health.
  • Leadership: PCS students are expected to assume a leadership role in their future endeavors, whether as a community practitioner or in the realm of research and academic medicine. Leadership preparation starts early in the program when students help plan and coordinate the annual Primary Care Week activities and the annual Primary Care Advocacy Town Hall. Additionally, students can participate in the establishment of a new chapter of Primary Care Progress, a nationally recognized network that is committed to strengthening the community of people at the heart of primary care through leadership development, advocacy, and community at medical schools nationwide.

    Fourth year students further develop these skills by taking a primary care leadership and advocacy elective.

  • Information Mastery: Future primary care clinicians stationed on the front lines of healthcare management must recognize the power obtained from the appropriate management of information. Information mastery is the application of the principles of evidence-based medicine concepts and techniques to the day-to-day practice of medical care. It allows future physicians to maximize the value of their services by paying close attention to the costs, benefits, and harms of their interventions as they relate to the patient, family, and the entire community. The program pursues a core mission to change the way people think about health, how they deliver health care and ultimately care for themselves. PCS students will complete the information mastery curriculum by the end of the program. Students will have many opportunities to apply and teach the principles of information mastery over the course of their 4-year medical education at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix.
  • Clinical Practice: The PCS program is designed to prepare the next generation of primary care physicians to meet the rising health needs of local and global communities. The program will provide a longitudinal experience in primary care called Patient Centered Care Curriculum (PC3), in lieu of CCE, by pairing each PCS student with a primary care physician mentor for their Longitudinal Clinical Experience Course, a component of the curriculum spanning all four (4) years of medical school. Through various preceptorship and shadowing experiences with an interprofessional team, students will have multiple opportunities to observe and work with primary care clinicians. Through these experiences, students will learn core principles of patient-centered care, population health management, continuity, health care disparities, team-based care, health policy, and quality improvement. Students will participate in a quality improvement project at their clinical sites.