Supporting Career Development
The Explore program in the Gateway Curriculum is a formalized approach to career development that helps WashU MD students find their niche in academic medicine. It allows students to explore and define their individual career interests and aspirations, then to pursue those interests and gain exposure to academic careers.
Explore is a longitudinal, immersive experience that begins during Phase 1 and continues throughout medical school. It connects students to physician role models and mentors, creates opportunity for scholarship in any of the four pathways, and provides core training in the respective career pathway.
The Four Academic Pathways
Students choose from four academic pathways, with flexibility to change pathways after the Explore Immersion as desired. Learn more about each pathway using the buttons on the left.
- ADVOCACY/GLOBAL HEALTH: Learn first-hand about the challenges to health in resource-limited settings globally and locally and how to contribute to addressing them.
- EDUCATION: Gain knowledge, skills and experience in curriculum design, program evaluation, assessment, and teaching.
- INNOVATION: Experience how ideation, valuation, and implementation pair with excellent clinical skills to create advances in medicine such as developing a product or changing a system.
- RESEARCH: Learn how scientific discovery takes place and influences the way we practice medicine.
The Three Phases of Gateway & the Explore Program
The Explore Program is intended to align with student needs at each curricular phase. In Phase 1, students gain understanding of each Pathway and choose one to gain more knowledge and skills during the Explore Immersion. They also connect with mentors and work to define a scholarship project.
In Phase 2, during the clinical rotations, students have the option of attending networking and learning opportunities for the four Pathways. Many students will continue longitudinal scholarship work during Phase 2 and some students may take 16 weeks towards research in Phase 2.
In Phase 3, all students will have the opportunity to take up to 16 weeks to work on a project. Students will also have the opportunity to further their knowledge and skills within the respective Pathways by choosing from various electives.
During Phase 1, students will have the option to participate in weekly noon conferences to learn about the four Explore Pathways. The goal of these noon conferences is to expose students to each pathway and to prepare students to choose a pathway to participate in for the Explore Immersion. Students will be asked to choose a pathway in late March.
Critical Phase 1 Dates for 2020–2021
November 18: Explore Speed Dating; get to know each of the pathways and what their curriculum entails
February 22: Explore Panel Q&A
March 29: Students select an Explore Pathway for their Explore Immersion
May 10: Explore Pathway Specific Planning
May 17–June 11: Explore Immersion
What is the Explore Immersion?
The Explore Immersion is four weeks of dedicated time to: (1) learn the foundations of scholarship and (2) gain knowledge and skills in a student’s chosen pathway. All MD students will participate in the Inquiry Curriculum during the mornings of the Explore Immersion and then will break off to participate in pathway-specific curricula in the afternoons. The Inquiry Curriculum will prepare students to be responsible and impactful scholars in any of the four pathways. The Explore Immersion also sets aside time for students to network with potential project or research mentors and to brainstorm a project plan.
During Phase 2, the clinical clerkships, students will have the opportunity to participate in the pathways as much or as little as desired, as long as clerkship engagement and performance is not jeopardized. The Explore Pathways will each offer pathway-specific opportunities for networking and for learning. In addition, students may participate in voluntary research or project-work during this time. Many students will work with their mentor during this stage to plan project work to be done in Phase 3. A few students will have the option of deferring clerkships to do basic science research during Phase 2.
Phase 3 offers the most flexibility for Explore activities. Students may pursue up to 16 weeks of scholarly project time. Students may also participate in Explore electives during Phase 3, which will enhance their knowledge and skills in the 4 pathways. Available electives are under planning and discussion. Interested students may elect to take additional time during phase 3 for dual-degree or the yearlong research programs.
Find out more about how to get started and what additional options exist for Dual Degree Programs.