Aquifer Sciences Integrated Illness Scripts

As part of the Aquifer Sciences Initiative, an initial release of Integrated Illness Scripts are in the final stages of development. 

Building on the traditional illness script format, Integrated Illness Scripts embed basic science core concepts as causal and explanatory mechanisms associated with clinical features. Integrated Illness Scripts are designed specifically to deliver an innovative learning experience that integrates basic and clinical sciences.

Making Connections for Deeper Understanding & Better Clinical Decisions

Bringing together clinical features, epidemiology, and the basic science causal mechanisms and core concepts, Integrated Illness Scripts provide a truly integrated mental model. This comprehensive approach breaks down silos and spans the disciplines, driving toward developing higher-thinking students who make better, safer clinical decisions.

Trusted Content & Pedagogy

Designed for Integration

The first tools designed specifically for integrating basic and clinical sciences in a variety of learning environments.

For Educators, By Educators

Teams of interdisciplinary educators developed and reviewed content that meets the needs of today’s faculty and students.

Nationally Developed Tools

Fully vetted teaching tools provide a framework that can be applied and adapted to fit the needs of your program.

From the Classroom to the Clinic

Teachers and students in a variety of settings can benefit from using Integrated Illness Scripts. Scripts are designed for multiple levels of medical and health professions learners.

Basic Science

Scripts deliver clinical content to science classrooms, providing clinical relevance that makes content stick.

Clinical Learning

Understanding basic science causal mechanisms helps clinical students make better, safer clinical decisions.

Faculty & Clinicians

Easy access to science and clinical content allows faculty in any discipline to help students make connections—and enhance their own understanding.

Anatomy of An Integrated Illness Script


For each condition, Integrated Illness Scripts include:

Overview – Epidemiology – Clinical Features (up to 6) – Implications for Further Work Up – Implications for Management – Mechanism of Disease Maps


This section provides the public health context of the condition, covering gender, peak incidence, risk factors, and predisposing conditions related to this diagnosis.

Clinical Features (Up to 6)

For the given diagnosis, the Integrated Illness Script includes six prototypical clinical features seen commonly in patients with this condition.

Within each clinical feature, the Integrated Illness Script describes the underlying basic science causal mechanisms that explain why a patient with that diagnosis displays that clinical finding.

Implications for Management & Further Work Up

These sections provide students an opportunity to reflect and take notes on how this knowledge will influence their clinical practice in diagnosing and treating a patient with this condition.

Mechanism of Disease Maps

Mechanism of Disease Maps trace the steps of pathophysiologic mechanisms from the underlying causes of disease to the observable and measurable clinical signs and symptoms.

Providing a visual representation of the relationship between the “original insult”, key findings, clinical features, and the basic science mechanisms, MOD Maps enable students to see and integrate a more holistic view of the basic science knowledge relevant to the given condition.

Explore the Details

Integrated Illness Scripts are adaptable to meet a variety of curriculum standards and have a wide range of uses:

  • Team-based learning or problem-based learning sessions
  • Reference for making clinical decisions in clinic or case-based learning
  • Classroom activity: Building Integrated Illness Scripts
  • Flipped classroom sessions
  • Self-directed learning or study tools

The Aquifer Sciences Leadership Team and other contributors have presented on Integrated Illness Scripts at national meetings around the country. View a list of our 2019 presentations.

In 2020, we were scheduled to present at the following national educators organization conferences:

  • Society of Teachers of Family Medicine: January 30 – February 2
  • Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics: March 10 – 13 (Cancelled)
  • Western Group on Educational Affairs: March 28 – 31 (Cancelled)

Academic Poster

The Aquifer Sciences Leadership Team presented a poster titled “The Integrated Illness Script: Answering the “Why” Question in Diagnostic Reasoning” at the 2019 IAMSE Annual Meeting.


The Aquifer Sciences Integrated Illness Scripts were created through a national, multi-institution authoring project. Following a national Call for Participation, teams from six schools were selected to draft Integrated Illness Scripts on common conditions seen in core rotations, leveraging the Aquifer Sciences Open Curriculum Database. Teams at each institution included clinician educators, basic science faculty, and medical students.

Integrated Illness Script Authoring Schools:

  • Albert Einstein College of Medicine
  • Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
  • Loma Linda University School of Medicine
  • Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • University of Utah School of Medicine
  • Western Michigan University Homer Stryker MD School of Medicine
Peer Review Process

Following the completion of the authoring process, each script underwent an extensive peer review process that included subject experts from the Aquifer Sciences Leadership Team and the:

  • Curriculum Editorial Board (11 basic science faculty members, each representing a different discipline)
  • Clinical Education Consultants (6 interdisciplinary clinical faculty members)

Aquifer is grateful for the hard work of all of our contributors on this project and looks forward to making these important new teaching and learning tools available.

Aquifer’s initial offering (launch date TBD) of Integrated Illness Scripts is specifically designed to cover a wide range of key common conditions that students will encounter throughout their core clinical rotations. Scripts on the following topics are undergoing final review:

  • ABO Incompatibility
  • Acetaminophen (APAP) Overdose
  • Acute Rhinosinusitis
  • Appendicitis
  • Asthma
  • Bacterial Meningitis
  • Breastfeeding Jaundice
  • Cardiogenic Shock
  • Cholecystitis
  • Choledocholithiasis
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis
  • Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation
  • Encephalitis
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
  • Hemorrhagic Stroke
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hypovolemic Shock
  • Influenza
  • Ischemic Stroke
  • Myocardial Infarction
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • Physiologic Jaundice
  • Pneumonia
  • Pneumothorax
  • Pulmonary Embolism
  • Pyelonephritis
  • Pyloric Stenosis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Septic Shock
  • Shingles
  • Small Bowel Obstruction
  • Transient Ischemic Attack
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Urinary Tract Infection

Accessing Integrated Illness Scripts

Our initial offering of Integrated Illness Scripts are currently undergoing final peer review and editing. More information about the 2021 release of Integrated Illness Scripts is coming soon.