Curriculum for UCSF Learners

Student and professor

We are committed to advancing the teaching mission of the UCSF School of Medicine, while providing the highest quality integrative medicine education for health professions students in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, and physical therapy.

UCSF School of Medicine Required Curriculum

The UCSF Bridges Curriculum, which launched in August 2016, is a three-phase, fully integrated medical school curriculum delivered over four years. The 45-month curriculum is divided into three phases: Foundations 1 (60 weeks), Foundations 2 (48 weeks), and Career Launch (53 weeks).

Three curricular elements are woven throughout the three phases: foundational sciences, clinical and systems applications, and inquiry activities. The Osher Center for Integrative Health is involved in medical student education throughout the Bridges curriculum, including lectures, small groups, experiential exercises, and research training. Some examples include:

School of Medicine: Health and the Individual Block

This course focuses on the experience of health and illness from the individual, family, and provider perspective. Focus areas include psychology, health behaviors, identity, bias, palliative care, and integrative medicine. The course includes lectures on integrative health, large group experiential sessions, and small group exercises to promote resilience and self-care for the learners themselves. 

Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy: Mini-Courses

These two-week blocks of selective didactics, cohort meetings, and scholarship skill-building experiences allow students from years 1, 2, and 4 to collaborate with students from the other professional schools and the graduate division. Learners build skills in inquiry and scientific teamwork and identify the scientific domain in which they intend to develop more advanced skills. The Osher Center is offering a course on the question, “How Can Integrative Medicine Address the Need for Non-pharmacologic Pain Management Options?”

Instructors: Shelley R. Adler, PhD, and Anand Dhruva, MD

Open to students in the UCSF School of Medicine and School of Pharmacy

Interprofessional Standardized Patient Exercise 

This exercise, required of all UCSF health professions students, prepares learners for their licensure exams and for addressing patient care in a real-world setting by interacting with other health professions students in order to learn from each other and practice communication skills. The current integrative palliative care case was developed by Osher Center educators in partnership with colleagues in the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Dentistry. 

Interdepartmental Coda Course

This course serves as a springboard from medical school to internship, the first year of residency. Through a combination of lectures, seminars, small groups, team teaching, and hands-on skills sessions, the course addresses common clinical, ethical, and social situations encountered during internship. Osher Center faculty provide lectures on integrative medicine, resiliency, and wellbeing, and offer wellness electives in which students can practice skills. 

UCSF Elective Curriculum

The Osher Center provides the following elective courses for UCSF health professions students and trainees. In addition to the elective courses below, the Osher Center offers other ways for learners interested in integrative medicine to get involved. Please see the resources page for more information. If you are a health professions student or health sciences doctoral student interested in taking a gap year to do research, consider applying for our predoctoral fellowship.

Complementary Paths of Healing (FCM 170.08)

This elective provides an introduction to several major complementary health systems through lectures, group discussions, and hands-on activities. Sessions are interactive, incorporating demonstrations, student participation, and experiential activities. Topics to be covered include traditional healing systems (e.g., traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda), mind-body medicine, herbs and dietary supplements, and body-based therapies.

Instructor: Shelley R. Adler, PhD

Open to students and trainees from all UCSF professional schools

Interprofessional Approaches to Integrative Medicine (FCM 140.42)

This two-week intensive course emphasizes both didactic and experiential learning, including a historical and cultural overview of integrative medicine, lecture-demonstrations by complementary and alternative medicine practitioners, and principles of ethnographic research relevant to clinical practice. Students will rotate through a variety of preceptorships at clinical integrative medicine sites, including those focusing on culturally diverse and underserved populations.

Instructor: Shelley R. Adler, PhD

This course is intended for 4th year medical students, but is open to students and trainees from all UCSF health professions schools, as well US medical and osteopathic students. Visiting students must register through AAMC Visiting Student Application Service (VSAS), which can be accessed here.

Integrative Approaches to End-of-Life Care (FCM 140.45)

This two-week block elective takes an integrative and interprofessional approach to relationship-centered, end-of-life care, and a cross-cultural approach to death and dying. Highlights of the course include presentations by end-of-life care practitioners and researchers (including physicians, nurses, integrative medicine practitioners, chaplains, lawyers, and anthropologists), hospice and mortuary visits, death cafés, and an emphasis on the exploration of personal and sociocultural understandings as well as transformational opportunities at the end of life.

Instructor: Shelley R. Adler, PhD

This course is intended for 4th year medical students, but is open to students and trainees from all UCSF health professions schools, as well US medical and osteopathic students. Visiting students must register through AAMC Visiting Student Application Service (VSAS), which can be accessed here.

Massage and Meditation (FCM 198)

This elective is an experiential, hands-on course that introduces students to both massage and meditation techniques. Classes begin and end with a meditation practice. Massage techniques are demonstrated and practiced, and elements of meditation are integrated into the massage. Participants share and reflect on their individual experiences and learn practical skills to cope with stress.

Instructor: Wolf Mehling, MD

Open to UCSF medical students only.


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