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Derek Nye, a medical scientist training program student from Penn State College of Medicine, prepares a syringe to give a COVID-19 vaccine. Nye is wearing glasses and a face mask.

Health Systems Science

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Developing Systems Thinking in Medicine

Health Systems Science Education at Penn State College of Medicine includes a longitudinal curriculum spanning the full undergraduate medical school experience, as well as a health systems science and systems thinking leadership development program for faculty, residents, fellows and other educators.

The overarching goal of health systems science education at Penn State College of Medicine is about helping current and future clinicians appreciate the interrelationship of biological, psychological, social and systems perspectives, and helping them to feel empowered to suggest and implement changes in the health care system.

A group of medical students are seen in a lecture room, talking together. Dr. Joshua Davis of Penn State College of Medicine is seen in the back, looking over the group.
Medical students discuss health systems science during a workshop led by Dr. Joshua Davis, rear, of Penn College of Medicine.

Courses Experience and Training


In a large classroom, medical students sit with chairs facing each other in groups of three of four as they participate in a simulation activity.
First-year medical students participate in a simulation activity to prepare for the patient experience program in April 2023.

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Patient Experience

 First-year medical student Carly Brogan, standing at right, talks with patient Robert Gibbs, who is sitting in a retirement village room.
First-year medical student Carly Brogan checks in with patient Robert Gibbs, a resident at Oak Hill Retirement Village, in March 2023.

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Educator Training

Four residents wearing face masks sit at a table, with the third from the left in focus; she is gesturing and looking ahead.
Medicine/Pediatrics residents participate in training related to systems-based practice in February 2023.

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