Independent Investigative Inquiry

The purpose of the III portion of the curriculum is to engage students in activities that will foster the skills of life-long learning essential for practicing physicians in the 21st century. Students will gain experience generating questions related to the practice of medicine and exploring the various methods available to resolve such questions. The student is strongly urged to select a topic of particular interest and to investigate the subject independently, utilizing the advice of a faculty advisor and other resources in the WWAMI community. This is a unique opportunity for students to choose both the content and form of their learning and to pursue an interest that may not be included elsewhere in the curriculum.

There are five options you can select from to fulfill the III requirement; this scholarship experience is undertaken between years one and two of medical school. Each offers the student a different type of learning experience and each has its own process, expectations, and deadlines. If you have questions on any of these selectives, please contact the UWSOM Curriculum Office.

Extensive details about III options and processes can be found on the III site.  

Selective 1: Data Gathering/Hypothesis Driven Inquiry

This selective can take the form of a basic laboratory study, a survey, secondary analysis of an existing dataset, a chart review, a qualitative study or a prospective clinical trial. The research can be initiated by the student or by the advising faculty member, as long as the student has an independent role and makes an intellectual contribution to the project. Students selecting this option can expect to learn the steps and logic involved in trying to resolve an empirical question through data collection and analysis. Students will learn how to conduct research in a way that conforms with human or animal use regulations.

All Selective 1 details can be found on the III site. If you have any questions, contact the Curriculum Office.

Selective 2: Systematic Literature Review

A systematic review of the literature poses an unresolved scientific question relevant to the practice of clinical medicine and attempts to answer that question using evidence published in medical literature. Particular attention is paid to the methods of the studies reviewed in addition to the results. Alternatively, students can use published literature and other sources to analyze an issue in medicine or to perform an historical investigation.

Students choosing Selective 2 learn how to use medical databases effectively. They learn how the population and methods employed in a study affect the interpretation of study results. In addition, they will learn how to synthesize information from a variety of sources in the form of an evidence table to draw a reasonable conclusion.

All Selective 2 details can be found on the III site. If you have any questions, contact the Curriculum Office.

Selective 3: Experience-Driven Inquiry-RUOP

An experience-driven investigation of an issue will be developed by the student while participating in the Rural Underserved Opportunities Program (RUOP). ​During their four-week rotation, students live in rural or urban underserved communities throughout Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho. They work side-by-side with local physicians providing health care to underserved populations. Students will closely observe health care in a community setting, then develop a project based on those observations. The project can take several forms, including a community needs assessment, a plan for a community health intervention, or evaluation of a service delivery project.

Contact: Toby Keys, ​206.616.7832

Selective 4: Special Simulation Selective-WISH

This selective offers rising 2nd year medical students an opportunity to participate as a member of the staff of the WWAMI Institute for Simulation in Healthcare (WISH). The student will have the opportunity to research and develop the content for one or more simulated patients. This patient, as well as others being concurrently developed, will be incorporated into a simulated hospital as the core of a computer based ‘continuity of care’ experience being developed for use with medical students.​

Contact: Bridget Kovach, 206.598.2710

​Selective 5: Promoting Community Health in Developing Countries-GHIP​

An experience-driven investigation of an issue will be developed by the student while participating in the Global Health Immersion Program (GHIP). This option is for students with a strong interest in global health and underserved communities and is particularly suited to students on the Global Health Pathway. Students spend a minimum of eight weeks in a developing country working to understand and help improve the local health communities. Students perform a community health assessment and will develop and implement a community health project.

Contact: Rachel Lazzar, 206.685.7418

Visit the III site to access comprehensive information about the III selectives, including timelines, guidelines, forms, and more.