In a purposeful effort to broaden our students’ educational experiences beyond targeted organ-systems and clinical specialties, our college has constructed several ways to seamlessly bridge learning opportunities across the entire curriculum. Our Longitudinal Curricular Themes (LCTs) are central in the integration and include:

  • Behavioral and Social Sciences.
  • Biomedical Informatics.
  • Ethics.
  • Public Health, Prevention and Health Promotion.
  • Health Care Transformation.
  • Cultural Competency.
  • Evidence-Based Medicine.
  • Precision Medicine.
  • Interprofessional Education and Practice.
  • Gerontology.

Gina Touch-Mercer, PhD
Dr. Touch-Mercer
Dr. Gina Touch-Mercer, PhD, assistant professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Family, Community and Preventive Medicine, is director of the Behavioral and Social Sciences Theme for our college. This theme is spread across the four-year curriculum to help students learn to understand and heal the whole person. The aim is to deepen students' empathy, intuition and communication skills; promote true respect for individuals' worldviews and diversity; help students understand and address barriers to healthy living and medical adherence; and broaden thinking about social, familial and psychological factors that sustain health and predict disease.

Dr. Touch collaborates with College of Medicine – Phoenix colleagues from our department and with clinicians practicing in the community to support students in achieving excellence in both patient care and professionalism. By integrating the behavioral sciences with biomedical knowledge, students sharpen their skills in self-reflection, insight and discernment; heighten their clinical intuition; embody the highest levels of professionalism; become highly sought out for residency positions; and achieve physician relationships that inspire and heal people and families across all settings and specialties.

Faculty interested in participating in the Behavioral and Social Sciences Theme can contact Dr. Touch-Mercer.