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Learning Objectives - Predoctoral



Systematically plan and institutionalize a curriculum in developmental disabilities (DD), including children, adolescents, and adults and integrate it into the undergraduate medical school curriculum to ensure that every medical student graduating from the UCSF School of Medicine will have basic skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary to care for patients with developmental disabilities.


At the end of four years of medical school, students will demonstrate the following learning objectives based on UCSF competencies for all medical students, which in turn are based on the competencies used in all residency programs.

1) Patient Care

Graduates will:

  1. Conduct a relevant and focused physical exam on a child and adult patient with developmental disabilities. (2nd– 4th year students)
  2. Demonstrate skills in interviewing patients with DD, their families and caregivers. (1st– 2nd year students)
  3. Document a neurodevelopmental profile of a patient with DD’s etiology and baseline cognitive, sensory, neuromuscular, behavioral, and seizure disorder status. (3rd– 4th year students)
  4. Document an assessment of functional capacity of a child, adolescent and adult patient with DD including activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). (3rd– 4th year students)
  5. Perform a standardized developmental/behavioral screening for children to identify developmental delays. (3rd– 4th year students)
  6. Develop an assessment and plan for a focused problem for a child and adult patient with a DD. (3rd– 4th year students)
  7. Demonstrate appropriate exam etiquette when working with both children and adults with DD including assistance with positioning for physical exam. (2nd– 4th year students)

2) Medical Knowledge

Graduates will:

  1. Describe the state and federal definitions of developmental disabilities. (1st– 2nd year students)
  2. Define types of and possible causes of developmental disabilities. (1st– 3rd year students)
  3. Define terminology used to describe cognitive, sensory, neuromuscular, behavioral and seizure disorders in people with DD. (1st– 2nd year students)
  4. Recognize some of the common presentations of developmental disabilities. (1st– 2nd year students)
  5. Recognize some of the common presentations of illness in both children and adults with DD. (3rd– 4th year students)
  6. Identify some of the barriers to accessing health care that children and adults with DD face. (1st – 4th year students)
  7. Describe the legal rights of both children and adults with developmental disabilities, available resources, and how to make effective referrals. (1st– 4th year students)
  8. Describe the history of DD, including the disability rights movement and moving people from institutions to community-based care. (1st– 4th year students)
  9. Identify key issues around obtaining informed consent for people with cognitive impairments, including conservatorship and supported and substituted decision-making. (3rd– 4th year students)
  10. Identify key issues around upholding confidentiality for adults with cognitive impairments. (3rd– 4thyear students)

3) Practice-Based Learning and Improvement

Graduates will:

  1. Evaluate and apply online medical information to people with DD. (1st– 4th year students)
  2. Apply evidence from scientific studies to patients with DD. (1st– 4th year students)

4) Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Graduates will:

  1. Demonstrate appropriate exam room etiquette when working with someone with a DD including using respectful terminology, interacting directly with the patient, and including the patient in the conversation. (1st– 4th year students)
  2. Identify tools to facilitate communication with patients with DD and respond appropriately to communication barriers that may arise when working with someone with a DD. (3rd– 4th year students)
  3. Elicit needs and preferences of patients, families, and caregivers in their interactions with the health care system. (1st– 4th year students)
  4. Share information with patients (providing health information or counseling) in a manner that is understandable to patients with DD, their families, and caregivers. (1st– 4th year students)

5) Professionalism

Graduates will:

  1. Show respect and compassion while interacting with patients with a DD and/or their families and caregivers. (1st– 4th year students)
  2. Practice ethically, including maintaining confidentiality of patient information and understanding appropriate boundaries in the doctor-patient relationship as they relate to patients with a DD. (1st– 4th year students)
  3. Advocate for children and adults with DD, their families, caregivers, and their communities. (3rd– 4th year students)
  4. Show insight into one’s own personal/professional development through the practice of reflection, and demonstrate awareness of how assumptions and biases about people with DD can influence the doctor-patient relationship. (1st– 4th year students)

6) Systems-Based Practice

Graduates will:

  1. Identify health care delivery systems, and social service, education, vocation and advocacy resources available to both children and adults with DD. (1st– 4th year students)
  2. Identify members of a patient’s interdisciplinary team, including the role of family members, caregivers, primary care clinicians, medical specialists, social service providers, special therapists, pharmacists, dentists, and durable medical equipment providers. (1st– 4th year students)
  3. Identify the adaptations to the health care delivery systems needed to provide appropriate care for people with developmental disabilities. (1st– 4th year students)



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