Aquifer is a thriving, collaborative community of healthcare education leaders deeply committed to driving innovation in teaching and learning.

Since our founding in 2006…

Over 10,000,000 virtual cases have been completed by more than 300,000 students.

Aquifer is used by 90% of U.S. medical schools and a growing number of osteopathic, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, and international medical programs.

Aquifer is known and respected for developing trusted, award-winning, virtual case-based courses comprehensively derived from accepted national healthcare curricula. Created by educators, for educators—in close collaboration with their national organizations—Aquifer’s courses build essential knowledge and clinical reasoning skills for health professions students—grounded in Aquifer’s trusted pedagogy. 

Aquifer courses are evidence-based, peer-reviewed, and continuously updated by our academic consortium, to support best practices in clinical teaching and learning.

Aqueduct, Aquifer’s proprietary learning management system, ensures learning is accessible anytime, anywhere.

The Aquifer Consortium forms the bedrock of Aquifer, bringing together more than 200 healthcare educators across disciplines.

Aquifer is…

  • improving students’ readiness for practice;
  • advancing and transforming health care education in order to improve general health and wellness;
  • a pioneer and a proven leader in virtual case-based learning and in developing clinical reasoning skills;
  • a non-profit, investing our commitment to keeping our organization—and our learners and educators—at the forefront of healthcare education; and
  • uniquely positioned to deliver effective solutions by harnessing its broad network of academic partnerships, national consortium of leading medical educators, innovative software design, and evaluative research.

Our History

Aquifer, formerly known as MedU, was formally organized in 2006 as a way to bring innovative methods to teach national clerkship curricula comprehensively and consistently.

The idea for Aquifer grew out of work by Dartmouth professors Leslie H. Fall, M.D., and Norman Berman, M. D., who received a federal grant in 2000 to develop pediatric virtual patient cases. Developed with the support of a consortium of pediatric educators, the new web-based course comprehensively covered the Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics (COMSEP) core pediatric curriculum.

When the federal grants ended in 2006, Drs. Fall and Berman created MedU, a nonprofit dedicated to delivering the best health care education through collaborative development and research into innovative, high-impact virtual teaching and learning methods.

Additional contributors and new courses followed. Internal Medicine in 2007 covered the curriculum outlined by the Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine (CDIM). In 2008, Family Medicine delivered the curriculum as detailed by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM).

In 2009, the Web Initiative for Surgical Education of Medical Doctors (WISE-MD), founded by Tom Riles, M.D. at New York University, was added to a suite of courses to support the surgery clerkship. In 2011, the Radiology course was added to the offerings.

Later expansion included various cross-disciplinary courses: High Value Care, Course on Addiction, Diagnostic Excellence, Culture in Health Care, and Medical Home.

In late 2016, Dr. Fall and the Board of Directors recognized the need to expand MedU’s vision, scope, and students. The organization took on the development of a new strategic plan, a new proprietary learning management system, and a new brand. Introduced early in 2018, Aquifer is reaching more constituencies, expanding the range and development of courses, and increasing its impact as it seeks to transform healthcare education.