Academics

Scholarship & Discovery Tracks

In keeping with the tradition of scholarship and discovery at the University of Chicago, Pritzker students receive the necessary training to complete a mentored scholarly project by the time of graduation by concentrating on one Track. The S&D curriculum provides enhanced skills preparation in fundamental concepts to ensure each student's success in one area of study.

The Basic Science Scholarship Track is a component of the Scientific Investigation Track of the Scholarship & Discovery program. Basic Science encompasses research that investigates core scientific concepts and pathways, and often utilizes animals, cell lines, or tissues. This type of research allows one to take a clinically relevant question and investigate causation and underlying mechanisms in a controlled system. The Basic Science Track provides students with an opportunity to be mentored by one of the many investigators in the University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division and develop a focused project for which the student can take ownership.  Projects are designed individually to match the skills, interests, and time frame available to the student.

The Clinical Research Scholarship Track is a component of the Scientific Investigation Track of the Scholarship & Discovery program. Clinical Research Track students work closely with their chosen mentors to frame clinically relevant questions, develop strategies for answering the questions, analyze their findings, and present their results. 

The range of potential topics spans all areas of clinical medicine. One area of focus is the trials of therapeutics, such as a clinical trial evaluating a new drug or device in the direct care of patients. Projects can either be continuing work in a mentor’s lab or a new project developed in close coordination with the mentor.  In either case, the student can and should take the lead on the project from data collection to presentation. 

The University of Chicago Medicine (UCM) is situated in the culturally rich South Side of Chicago – an area of 34 neighborhoods with around one million people, primarily African American with a large Hispanic and immigrant population, many impoverished, with significant health disparities. A community health needs assessment sponsored by UCM in 2012 prioritized access to care for all, diabetes and cancer care for adults, and obesity and asthma care for pediatrics, as well as sexually transmitted infections and violence. 

The University of Chicago faculty and trainees partner with community leaders and organizations to promote health through research, advocacy, and community development.

The Community Health Track connects students participating in the service learning opportunities of the Pritzker School of Medicine with the community outreach of the Urban Health Initiative (UHI) and community engaged research of the Institute for Translational Medicine. Medical education is situated within and with the community, allowing students to develop necessary skills in establishing community partnerships for research and advocacy, public speaking, fundraising, consensus building, community organizing, organizational management, team building and inter-professional collaboration. The Community Health Track prepares students to promote population health.

The Global Health Track is a four-year, comprehensive curriculum in Global Health topics within the Scholarship & Discovery program. Given the broad nature of global health and recognizing that true competence in in this field requires more than clinical skill, this curriculum is designed to expose students to a diverse range of topics and disciplines to suit the student’s research and clinical interests. The Global Health Track combines didactic, seminar, clinical, research, mentoring, and international components with the goal of providing students with the skill-set to function most effectively in any global setting, working not only with individual patients, but with health systems and institutions as a whole, often within resource-limited settings. Being a practitioner of global health requires a diverse set of skills that expand upon basic medical education (cultural competency, clinical reasoning, ethics and professionalism), and the goal of the Global Health Track is to provide the education and opportunities that form the core of this skill set.

For Global Health Track students interested in applying for travel funding, please complete the S&D Intent to Travel form.

The Healthcare Delivery Sciences Track (HDST) is a comprehensive, four-year curriculum in quality improvement (QI) and safety that is integrated into the Scholarship & Discovery curriculum. The ideal healthcare system includes not just the discovery of new medication and technology, but the ability to deliver high quality healthcare to every individual regardless of geographic location, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic, or insurance status. Recent data and seminal reports from the Institute of Medicine highlight that the US healthcare system does not provide the level of quality and safety of care that it should. 

The HDST combines didactic, seminar, clinical, and research components with the goal of providing students the skills to function more effectively in any healthcare setting. This work involved not only individual patients, but also health systems and institutions. 

For students who wish to be future physician leaders in quality and safety, pursuing the HDST will provide the opportunity to receive advanced training, conduct a mentored QI project, and connect with quality and safety leaders institutionally and nationally. Further, students in the HDST have the opportunity to participate with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's (IHI) Open School U of C chapter, as well as engage in online experiences with improvehealthcare.org.

The Medical Education Track is designed to provide students with a foundation in all aspects of medical education, from research to innovation to practical skills and teaching. In this Track, students will learn the principles behind health professions curriculum development and evaluation, learner assessment strategies, instructional methodology, as well as teaching skills. Research projects are diverse, ranging the spectrum from determining the outcomes of educational interventions to exploring current cutting-edge strategies in medical education, as well as evaluating curricula. Students in this Track will gain a set of skills that can be used to teach peers, learners, and patients.

The Medical Education Track utilizes active experiences, reflection, and group learning to gain new knowledge and apply it to individual projects. The First-Year Elective offers students a 10-week primer on all aspects of medical education, with a capstone individual hot topics presentation. All projects are mentored by selected faculty mentors, as well as by the Track Leaders. A unique requirement of the track is that all students participate in some type of teaching experience during medical school, including but not limited to Teaching Assistant opportunities, the Becoming a Resident Teacher elective (for which they have priority registration), as well as national teaching skills training. With the completion of the Track requirements, students are prepared to be exceptional educators during residency and beyond, as well as future leaders in medical education.

The Social Sciences Track is a component of the Scientific Investigation Track of the Scholarship & Discovery program. The Social Sciences in Medicine S&D Track is an integrated program of research and training experiences designed to expose students to quantitative and qualitative empirical approaches to understanding how people and systems work within medicine. From micro-interaction research at the dyadic level (e.g., doctor/patient communication about end-of-life wishes) to macro-level research at the national level (e.g., regional relationships between the prevalence of faith-based hospitals and access to prenatal services), and using ideas and theories from the social sciences, medical ethics, and related fields, students in this Track have the opportunity to work with the best researchers in the country.  The Social Sciences Track experience is evolving but typically combines didactic, seminar, clinical, and research components with the goal of providing students the skills to ask and answer complex questions about health-related phenomena. This Track offers a “home base” for those wishing to pursue advanced training, conduct a mentored research or service project, and connect with faculty in the medical center and across the University.