The Aquifer Sciences Initiative is seeking six pilot medical schools to develop and beta-test tools to promote cognitive integration in medical education. Leveraging Aquifer’s unique pedagogy and learning objectives drawn from our recently released Aquifer Sciences open curriculum—developed in collaboration with the International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE)—pilot school teams will initially be assigned to develop either virtual patient cases or integrated illness scripts for clinical conditions routinely encountered in core clinical rotations.

About the Aquifer Sciences Initiative

Integration of basic and clinical science knowledge is increasingly being recognized as important for safe and effective practice in the health professions. The concept of ‘cognitive integration’ places emphasis on the value of basic science in providing critical connections during clinical decision-making, while recognizing that experienced clinicians may not spontaneously articulate their use of basic science knowledge in clinical reasoning.

Aquifer, the non-profit leader in collaborative development of virtual learning resources for health professions education, has launched the Aquifer Sciences Initiative. The Initiative aims to provide medical schools with the teaching and learning resources they need to ensure all graduates seamlessly acquire and apply basic science foundational understanding to patient care.

Development teams at pilot schools must:

  • Be collaboratively led by an experienced basic science educator and a clinician educator with a history of working on integrated curriculum projects.
  • Include a small, balanced, and committed team of basic science and clinical educators with expertise in the topics relevant to the team’s assigned cases or integrated illness scripts.
  • Include at least four medical students with a track record of excellence in both the school’s basic science and clinical curricula, and who have demonstrated the ability to work independently and in teams, with strong follow-through skills.
  • Participate in a scheduled two-hour training webinar.
  • Dedicate up to 16-weeks to the project, including scheduled weekly or bi-weekly working group calls with assigned project mentors, and local team meetings as required to complete tasks in the assigned time frame.

Consistent with Aquifer’s mission, project participants will innovate collaboratively within teams of leading basic, clinical, and cognitive science educators and medical students from participating schools recruited from across North America. Dedicated Aquifer staff, including eLearning designers, project managers, and software developers will enable project participants to focus on designing and implementing tools in rapid-cycle innovation loops while learning valuable new skills in product design, development, and testing.

Upon successful completion of assigned work, pilot schools will be eligible to participate in the beta launch of the initial case series and illness scripts developed by all pilot programs. Successful pilot school teams will receive priority consideration in future development phases of the project.

Pilot schools will be recognized as such on the Aquifer website and in all relevant Aquifer Science materials. Project leaders will be provided with a $1,500 grant to support local project activities. Project members who demonstrate significant contributions will receive scholarly recognition and evidence of multi-institutional impact and will be eligible to apply for travel grants to Wellspring —Aquifer’s annual meeting—in October 2019 to present their work and to engage with other pilot school participants.

Letter of Intent Due: August 3, 2018

Full Application (by invitation) Due: September 15, 2018

Application Status Notification: August 17, 2018

Pilot Schools Notified: October 8, 2018

Required 2-hour Training Webinar: October 17, 2018

Phase 1 Development Commences: October 15, 2018

Phase 1 Development Work Complete: March 1, 2019

Beta-Testing Commences: July 1, 2019

Letter of Intent Submission

Interested schools and teams are encouraged to complete our Letter of Intent Form indicating their interest in becoming a pilot school.

Letter of Intent Submission Form