Definitions of commonly used words and abbreviations in medical school

(need – USMLE licensing exam)

Here’s what some of those mysterious words and acronyms stand for:

Here is a glossary of terms you may see or hear in medical school. If there’s a term missing that should be on this page, please suggest it here.

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AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges): The AAMC serves and leads the academic medicine community to improve the health of all. The association is dedicated to transforming health care in four primary mission areas: innovative medical education, cutting-edge patient care, groundbreaking medical research and building a culture of diversity and inclusion. AAMC represents MD-granting medical schools located in the United States.

AAMC ID: A unique identification number assigned by the AAMC to students, residents, and others who register with a service it sponsors. Match applicants will receive an AAMC ID number when they register with ERAS. The AAMC ID is a required field for applicants during registration for the Main Residency Match. 

Academic Affairs: Academic Affairs at UW provides oversight for the curriculum and related policy decisions and may initiate discussion of curricular issues or respond to issues raised by students and faculty.

Academic & Learning Technologies: See SOMALT.

ACGME (Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education): The accrediting body for residency and fellowship programs in the United States that ensures training programs meet specialty-specific quality standards.

Advanced Patient Care Electives: See APC

Advanced Residency: A residency that begins after completing a compatible postgraduate year-1 (also called intern year) in a non-categorical program. Applicants apply for both their intern year and advanced residency programs simultaneously but separately.

AFERM (Alliance for Equal Representation in Medicine): AFERM is a group of students and faculty at the University of Washington School of Medicine (UWSOM) dedicated to increasing diversity in medical education with the purpose of graduating representative physicians for all patients and communities. They coordinate two distinct programs: 1) Mock Interview Program provides mock interviews and coaching for underrepresented or disadvantaged applicants invited to interview at UWSOM. 2) Mentorship Program provides longitudinal mentorship for premedical or post-baccalaureate students in the greater Seattle area by pairing them with medical student mentors and offering networking events and workshops.

AI/AN/Indigenous: American Indian/Alaska Native/Indigenous.

Alaska WWAMI: The UW School of Medicine’s medical education program in Alaska. The Foundations phase (years 1 and 2) is taught in partnership with the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Alliance for Equal Representation in Medicine: See AFERM.

Alpha Omega Alpha: See AOA.

AMSA (American Medical Student Association): The American Medical Student Association is the oldest and largest independent association of physicians-in-training in the United States. Today, AMSA represents the concerns of physicians-in-training with a membership of more than 41,000 medical students, premedical students, interns, residents, and practicing physicians. The UW chapter of AMSA’s goal is to connect pre-med students with each other, local resources, research and service opportunities, and current medical students to make the pre-med track at UW easier to navigate.

ANAMS (Association of Native American Medical Students): “UW ANAMS” will provide support, community, and a resource network for all Native American/American Indians currently enrolled with the University of Washington School of Medicine, and is dedicated to the recruitment, retention and graduation of all Native American/American Indian students in graduate health professions fields.

AOA (Alpha Omega Alpha): AOA is the national medical honor society, founded in 1902. Election to AOA is an honor signifying a lasting commitment to professionalism, leadership, scholarship, research, and community service. AOA supports 13 fellowships, grants, programs, and awards for medical students and physicians at its 135 Chapters, including the University of Washington Chapter.

APAMSA (Asian & Pacific Islander American Medical Student Association): APAMSA is a national organization that aims to address the unique health challenges of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities through education, outreach, advocacy and service. At UW, their goals are to educate fellow health sciences students on health issues affecting the AAPI community in Seattle and nationwide, so we can better care for AAPI patients in the future; provide opportunities for students to connect with the underserved AAPI community through service, partnership and outreach; and promote mentorship and networking among students and API physicians in the community.

APC (Advanced Patient Care) clerkship: A four-week, full-time clinical experience during Explore and Focus Phase in which the student acts at an advanced level. Some, but not all APC clerkships are sub-internships. APC clerkships may take place in an inpatient or outpatient setting. The clinical work can be primary or consultative.

Asian & Pacific Islander American Medical Student Association: See APAMSA.

Association of American Medical Colleges: See AAMC.

Association of Native American Medical Students: See ANAMS.

Attending Physician: a doctor who has completed Medical School and all residency training and is Board certified or eligible in their specialty. The Attending Physician is credentialed by the hospital to practice in the hospital and supervises all the care delivered to you by the entire medical team. The Attending Physician is responsible for making the final decisions regarding a patient’s plan of care.

Away Rotation: Also known as Special Assignment Electives. A 2–4-week rotation taken at an outside institution or facility (outside the UWSOM system) that a medical student can take and receive UWSOM clinical elective credit in the Explore and Focus Phase.

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BHJP (Black Health Justice Pathway): A Pathway supported by the Office of Healthcare Equity and created by four E19 medical students. BHJP’s mission is to provide a curriculum that highlights the systemic oppression of Black people and its resulting socioeconomic and health sequelae. Provide medical students with the foundational knowledge to assess health inequities through a critical lens. Provide medical students with tools to advocate for health equity within the UWSOM, in Black communities throughout WWAMI, and in their future practices as physicians.

BIPOC: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Pronounced, “bye-pock.”

Backup plan: what a student plans to do in the event they go unmatched. This is a discussion with Career Advising and a Specialty Career Advisor to talk through options.

Black Health Justice Pathway: See BHJP.

Block: Curriculum organized in short periods of time with each time period consisting of related integrated topics.

Board Certified: A physician who has passed a national exam in a particular field or subspecialty. The exam is administered by a specialty board.

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Canvas: Online learning platform for course websites. Canvas course websites are used to distribute syllabi, reading lists, class meeting calendars, and other course materials.

Career Advising Student Advisory Board: See SAB.

Career Advisors: Career Advisors at UWSOM support student career planning throughout their time in medical school. Career Advisors offer advice on ways to explore specialty and career interests, approaches to specialty decision making and preparing residency applications. They provide resources and data for specialty exploration and planning and refer students to Specialty Career Advisors for specialty advice. Career Advisors support students who are undecided on their specialty and provide advice on situations such as dual applying, couples matching and military matching. They support students throughout residency application season by reviewing CVs and personal statements and advising on interview preparation and ranking.

Categorical Residency: A residency that begins at PGY-1 year and continues for subsequent years until the end of the training and offers the full training necessary to acquire board certification in that particular discipline.

CBSE/CAS (Comprehensive Basic Science Exam/Customized Assessment Service): NBME self-assessment provided by UWSOM to help guide Step 1 studying. The exam is given in both the Spring and Fall during Foundations.

Careers in Medicine (CiM): An AAMC online platform that provides tools and information to help students align their interests and preferences with specialty and career options to make effective career decisions.

CEDI (Center for Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion): The mission of CEDI is to build individual and institutional capacity to achieve excellence, foster innovation, and further health equity by advancing diversity and inclusiveness throughout the School of Medicine’s teaching, patient care and research programs.

Center for Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: See CEDI.

Clerkship (AKA clinical rotation): A course of clinical medical training in a specialty (as pediatrics, internal medicine, or psychiatry) that usually lasts a minimum of several weeks and takes place during the third or fourth year of medical school.

Clerkship Administrator: The foremost role of the administrator is to assist and advise the clerkship director in managing all aspects of the clerkship. The clerkship administrator acts as student advisor, advocate, and policy expert for the clerkship. This person is typically a first point of contact for students for questions regarding clerkship logistics and operations, including housing, absences and credentialing.

CLIME: UW Medicine Center for Leadership and Innovation in Medical Education. CLIME provides a platform to help faculty develop their teaching skills.

Clinical Electives: Students have an opportunity to register for various elective clerkships during their MS4/Explore & Focus Phase. Some clerkship electives require departmental permission to register.

CME: (Continuing Medical Education): Most states require a certain number of continuing medical education credit hours to ensure that physicians remain current in their medical knowledge. It is also a requirement to maintain their medical license.

College Mentor: A clinical faculty member who meets regularly with a small group of students from their College. During these weekly tutorials, mentors work with the students at the bedside, teaching them clinical skills and talking with them about patient-centered care and professionalism. College Mentors are assigned to students during orientation and each mentor 4-6 students, depending on foundation site. They serve as a sounding board, providing support and coaching for early career exploration. They connect students to resources and provide referrals to other physicians and senior students for career conversations. Mentors will not provide advice in specialty specific areas, such as level of competitiveness or applying to residencies. They will make a referral to a Career Advisor for general career planning and or to a Specialty Career Advisor for specialty specific advising.

College System: A program grouped into individual colleges that oversee a four-year integrated curriculum of clinical skills and professionalism, teach the Foundations of Clinical Medicine course, and provide students with consistent faculty mentoring. The curriculum emphasizes proficiency in the basic clinical skills of physical examination and diagnosis, clinical reasoning and interpretation, and use of informatics.

Combined Residency Program: A combined residency program integrates training in two specialties allowing physicians to work with a broader patient population.

Community-focused Urban Scholars Program: See CUSP.

Comprehensive Basic Science Exam/Customized Assessment Service: See CBSE/CAS.

Continuing Medical Education: See CME.

Couples Match: Any two people (friends, partners, family) can participate in couples matching, as long as they are matching through the NRMP during the same residency application cycle. They can attend the same or different medical schools. Participating in an NRMP Match as a couple allows two applicants to link their rank order lists, with the goal often being to obtain positions in the same geographic location. Couples match is not available for military, ophthalmology or urology matches.

CUSP (Community-focused Urban Scholars Program): CUSP is a comprehensive approach to diversifying the UWSOM student population and addressing WWAMI’s urban underserved physician workforce shortage through community-based medical school training. CUSP’s goals are to recruit BIPOC students into the program and develop a workforce of diverse physician leaders in under-resourced urban communities in the WWAMI region through a full circle program that fosters and supports qualified students through mentorship and professional development, population health training, service learning, and urban clinical experiences.

Curriculum Vitae (CV) : The medical student CV is a document of experiences, involvements, and achievements related to medical training and career. It highlights activities and skills relevant to an application to a research opportunity, scholarship, Away rotation and residency.

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DFAD (Doctor-for-a-Day): DFAD was created by a Black and Asian medical student (now a Family Medicine Physician: Dr. Joy Thurman-Nguyen). The purpose of Doctor for a Day is to provide outreach to youth of color in the greater Seattle area. The aim is to inspire and encourage middle school and high school students of color to consider medicine or other healthcare careers. Run almost entirely by UW School of Medicine students, Doctor for a Day events are made up of hands-on stations such as: teaching physical exam skills, patient interviewing techniques, and suturing.

DES: Department of Enterprise Services.

Dean: the head of the medical school or head of a unit within the medical school. At UWSOM we have (in descending order of rank) a Dean, Vice Deans, Associate Deans and Assistant Deans.

Dean’s Letter: See MSPE

Department Chair Letter: Also known as a Chair Letter. A letter of recommendation written by the chair of the department (i.e. the specialty) for a student’s residency application. Not all specialties require a chair letter.

Doctor-for-a-Day: See DFAD.

Dual Application: Applying to residency programs in two specialties.

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Ecology of Health & Medicine: See EHM.

eValue, sometimes spelled various ways including E*Value: A clinical scheduling and evaluation system that is used for scheduling and evaluating of students’ clinical clerkships as well as where students can find their immunizations and certifications, check the availability of clerkships, view their full clinical schedule and view their clinical clerkship grades.

EID: Employee identification number

Electronic Residency Application Service: See ERAS.

ENT (Ear, Nose, & Throat): ENT, also known as Otolaryngology, is a surgical subspecialty within medicine that deals with the surgical and medical management of conditions of the head and neck.

ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service): ERAS is the centralized online application service most medical students will use to deliver their application, along with supporting documents, to residency programs.

Exam Soft/Examplify: Computer software that supports the entire UWSOM testing process, including exam creation, administration, delivery, scoring, and analysis. This is the primary form of testing for UW medical students.

Explore & Focus Phase: Year four of the medical school curriculum is a 15-month phase designed to allow students to explore potential specialty careers through a combination of required and elective clinical clerkships. Required clerkships in this phase include: Advanced Patient Care, Neurology/Neurosurgery, and Emergency Medicine.

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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act: See FERPA.

FCM (Foundations of Clinical Medicine): A longitudinal course including clinical skills workshops, college mornings, and Immersion.

Fellow: a physician who is undergoing advanced sub-specialty training and has already completed residency training and medical school. Fellows are fully accredited and can serve as Attending physicians in the general medical field in which they were primarily trained while they are training in the subspecialty area.

Fellowship Training: Additional subspecialty training required for some fields of medicine. A fellowship is completed after residency training. Fellowship training is similar to residency training, but with an added emphasis on conducting research.

FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act): A Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

Foundations Phase: First of three integrated learning phases of the UWSOM curricula. Foundation phase emphasizes scientific and anatomical learning and occurs over the first two years of medical school.

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GHG (Global Health Group): The GHG is a medical student-led organization that promotes medical student research and clinical experiences to benefit underserved populations worldwide. The GHG is committed to forming long-term, reciprocal relationships with clinics, research facilities, and communities.

GHIP (Global Health Immersion Program): GHIP is an educational program and cultural immersion opportunity by which GHIP students spend 10 weeks living and working in a developing country to gain first-hand insight into the challenges of global health.

GHP (Global Health Pathway): The Global Health Pathway (GHP) is designed for medical students interested in careers dedicated to improving global health disparities. The GHP was initiated by medical students in the Global Health Group (GHG) in 2004, with support from DGH Academic Programs and Student Services (APSS) and then further developed in conjunction with the University of Washington School of Medicine (UWSOM). We work closely with other SOM Pathways programs to provide optimum learning experiences for all WWAMI students interested in pursuing global health.

Global Health Group: See GHG.

Global Health Immersion Program: See GHIP.

Global Health Pathway: See GHP.

GME (Graduate Medical Education): The continuation of formal training for physicians after they have completed their medical school education.

Graduate Medical Education: See GME.

Guide: A faculty member who teaches scientific and anatomical learning in the Foundations Phase.

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Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996: See HIPAA

Health Professions Scholarship Program: See HPSP.

Health Sciences Immunization Program: See HSIP.

Health Sciences Library: See HSL.

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996): The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that required the creation of national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge.

Hippocratic Oath: See Physician’s Oath

Hospital Tutorial (AKA “Hospital Morning”): Inpatient morning activities, every other week, at a local regional hospital in conjunction with the Foundations of Clinical Medicine (FCM) curriculum during first and second year.

House Staff: The resident physicians of a hospital who care for patients under the direction of the attending staff. House staff includes interns, residents and fellows.

HPSP (Health Professions Scholarship Program): A scholarship program sponsored by the Federal Government. HPSP covers physicians, dentists, veterinarians, and four other types of health providers. The program pays for medical school tuition, fees, equipment, and a monthly stipend until graduation. In return, participants must typically payback 3-4 years of active duty (AD) service in either the Army, Air Force, or Navy after completion of GME training.

HSIP (Health Sciences Immunization Program): A program which requires students to complete and document immunizations and TB testing for clinical and practicum training sites. Compliance of the program is mandatory for all health science students including medical students.

HSL (Health Sciences Library): A library located on the UW Seattle campus that is specifically designed for use by health science students.

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III (Independent Investigative Inquiry): Students select a topic of particular interest in the medical field to investigate independently, unfunded, utilizing the advice of a faculty advisor and other resources in the WWAMI community. The whole process accumulates into a final paper and poster presentation. Commonly known as Triple I.

Idaho WWAMI: The UW School of Medicine’s medical education program in Idaho. The Foundations phase (years 1 and 2) is taught in partnership with the University of Idaho in Moscow, ID.

IHP: See Indian Health Pathway.

Immersion: The first two weeks of medical school for an incoming UWSOM class. This serves not only as an orientation to the respective Foundation  Campus, but also a clinical skills intensive teaching period, which serves to prepare students to enter their primary care practicum with a basic level of clinical and exam skills.

Independent Investigative Inquiry: See III.

Indian Health Pathway (IHP): A Pathway supported by the Office of Healthcare Equity: IHP provides a path for Native medical students to stay connected to their community while enhancing opportunities for Native and non-Native medical students alike to learn how to integrate their American Indian/Alaska Native patients’ cultural, spiritual, and traditional needs into the health care relationship.

Internship (Intern Year): The first year of residency. First-year residents are often referred to as interns or PGY-1s. There are three internship year possibilities: transitional year (TY), preliminary year (prelim), or categorical. For the non-categorical applicants, the TY/prelim year is followed by advanced years in residency.
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Joint residency program: Residency programs that link an advanced PGY-2 program with a preliminary PGY-1 program to create a full course of training for applicants interested in specialties that begin in the PGY-2 year.

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Latinx Health Pathway (LHP): A Pathway in the School of Medicine. The goal of the LHP is to provide educational opportunities and experiences to medical students that will better prepare them to provide culturally responsive care for the Latine population.

LCME (Liaison Committee on Medical Education): Accreditation body for medical education programs leading to the MD degree in the United States and Canada. Is a voluntary, peer-reviewed process of quality assurance that determines whether the medical education program meets established standards.

Letters of Good Standing: See LOGS.

Letters of Recommendations (LOR): Provide qualitative information on a student’s personal and professional characteristics and are a required component for residency and away applications. LORs are written by physicians a student has worked with in clinical settings.

LGBTQ Pathway: A Pathway supported by the Office of Healthcare Equity. The goal of the LGBTQ Health Pathway is to provide educational opportunities and experiences to medical students that will better prepare them to provide culturally responsive care for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) population.

LHP: See Latinx Health Pathway.

Listserv: The UW School of Medicine uses group emails, powered by a technology called Listserv, to communicate with students. Students should make sure they are receiving listserv messages related to their class. Any questions can go to The mandatory listservs, where the most essential information is shared, are medyr1ad, medyr2ad, medyr3ad and medyr4ad.

LMSA (Latinx Medical Student Association): A network of students, alumni, and health professionals whose mission is to promote the development of Latino students through educational, volunteer, professional and networking opportunities to foster diversity, higher education, and the improvement of the Latine community.

LOGS (Letters of Good Standing): Letters of Good Standing are completed by UWSOM Administration in Seattle for medical students for the purpose of meeting the requirements of clerkships, scholarships, and other obligations.

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Main Residency Match: The Match sponsored by the NRMP that places students and graduates of U.S. and international medical schools into ACGME-accredited core residency training programs in the United States.

Match: Following residency interviews, both residency program directors and residency candidates rank their top choices for candidates/programs . The NRMP and SF matches consists of a computerized mathematical algorithm to place applicants into the most preferred residency positions at programs that also prefer them. Students and medical schools are notified of the results on Match Day.

Match Day: The day where medical students a find out which residency program they have been matched. The NRMP match day is usually the third Friday in March.

Match Participation Agreement: The contract all Main Residency Match (NRMP) participants electronically sign as part of the online Match registration process. It outlines the policies and procedures for participating in a Match and the steps all Match participants must take to engage in ethical and professionally responsible behavior. It is a binding contract once applicants are matched.

Match Season (or Match Cycle): The period starting from when residency application systems open to the time of the residency match.

Match Week: The week when NRMP applicants and programs learn the results of the Main Residency Match. SOAP also occurs during this week. This usually occurs in the third week in March.

Matching Algorithm: The proprietary mathematical formula used by the NRMP to place applicants into residency and fellowship training programs. The NRMP matching algorithm is “applicant proposing,” meaning the preferences expressed on the rank order lists submitted by applicants, not programs, initiate placement into training.

MD Senior: A senior student enrolled in a U.S. MD-granting school of medicine accredited by the LCME or who graduates from an LCME-accredited medical school between June 30 of the calendar year the Main Residency Match opens and 9:00 pm eastern time on the Rank Order List Certification Deadline in the year of the Match. U.S. MD seniors are sponsored by their medical schools and may be referred to as Sponsored Applicants.

Mediasite: A video player and streaming tool. Mediasite is mainly accessed from Canvas and departmental sites.

Medical Scientist Training Program: See MSTP.

Medical Student Association: See MSA.

Medical Student Performance Evaluation: See MSPE.

Medical Student Research Training Program: See MSRTP.

Medicine Wheel Society: See MWS.

Military Match: The residency matching process for students participating in HPSP scholarship. Applicants will either be accepted to a military residency training program or deferred to apply through civilian match processes. While many of the processes are like the National Residency Match Program, it is a selection board that places applicants in programs, not an algorithm.

Mock Interview: A practice interview that simulates an actual interview. Often conducted prior to interviewing for residency.

MODS: The system by which Military HPSP students apply for residency positions.

Montana WWAMI: The UW School of Medicine’s medical education program in Montana. The Foundations phase (years 1 and 2) is taught in partnership with Montana State University in Bozeman, MT.

MSA (Medical Student Association): The MSA is a group of elected student leaders from each class of UW medical students, from each Foundations site. MSA senators/representatives serve as the primary liaisons for communication between the student body and the SOM administration and faculty.

MSPE (Medical Student Performance Evaluation): Written by a student’s school of medicine, this is a summary letter of evaluation intended to provide residency program directors an honest and objective summary of a student’s salient experiences, attributes, and academic performance. Also referred to as Dean’s Letter.

MSTP (Medical Scientist Training Program): Designed for highly qualified candidates who wish to obtain both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees and to pursue careers in basic medical research. Selection for this program is national in scope and is not restricted to residents of Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, or Idaho.

MSRTP (Medical Student Research Training Program): MSRTP provides funded opportunities each year for students to participate in a full-time, 10-week summer research project between their first and second years under the supervision of a faculty mentor.  The process accumulates into a final paper and poster presentation.

Muslim Health Professionals of Greater Puget Sound: Muslim Health Professionals of Greater Puget Sound aims to promote the career, service, and personal development of Muslims in healthcare in the Greater Puget Sound and surrounding region.

MWS (Medicine Wheel Society): The A student led organization dedicated to promoting American Indian/Alaska Native/Indigenous culture, education, and advancement in healthcare and diversity in medicine. MWS brings together the people, traditions, customs, and the spirit which enable AI/AN/Indigenous students to maintain their sense of community while in medical school.

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National Board of Medical Examiners: See NBME.

National Residency Matching Program: See NRMP.

NBME (National Board of Medical Examiners): Organization that  develops and manages the USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination). While the individual licensing boards grant the license to practice medicine, all medical boards in the U.S. accept a passing score on the USMLE as evidence that an applicant demonstrates the core competencies to practice medicine.

Network of Underrepresented Residents and Fellows: See NURF.

Non-Clinical Electives: See Non-clinical Selectives

Non-Clinical Selectives: ​​Students taking courses in the basic sciences curriculum are required to pursue electives that will enhance their personal medical education. Non-clinical selectives are offered throughout the University that are relevant to medical education but do not involve direct patient care or fulfill this graduation requirement. All UW non-clinical selectives run on the regular quarterly academic calendar, which means they may not correspond exactly with other courses in the school of medicine.  Also referred to as non-clinical electives.

Non-Primary Care Practicum Clinical Experience: See NPCE.

NPCE (Non-Primary Care Practicum Clinical Experience): Clinical shadowing experiences that are not curricular in nature and are optional.

NRMP (The National Resident Matching Program): A private, non-profit organization established in 1952 at the request of medical students to provide an orderly and fair mechanism for matching the preferences of applicants for U.S. residency positions with the preferences of residency program directors. NRMP runs the Main Residency Match.

NRMP ID: A unique identifier Main Residency Match applicants receive as part of their registration for an NRMP Match. The NRMP ID is generated by the R3 system and is randomly assigned.

NURF (Network of Underrepresented Residents and Fellows): A resident and fellow run organization, co-sponsored by the UW Graduate Medical Education Office and the Office of Healthcare Equity, that promotes cultural diversity in medicine through community involvement, education, advocacy, policy, mentorship, professional networking and recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities in medicine.

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Objective Structured Clinical Examination: See OSCE.

Office of Healthcare Equity: See OHCE.

OHCE (Office of Healthcare Equity): OHCE aims to reduce disparities in healthcare by educating healthcare professionals on the principles of equity, social justice, and cultural humility; working with communities to assess and address healthcare equity; and targeting quality improvement and healthcare services to meet the needs of marginalized populations.

OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination): OSCEs (pronounced: OS-keys) assess students’ clinical skills and the effectiveness of the curriculum. They allow a student to practice and demonstrate clinical skills in a standardized medical scenario. OSCEs are given in the Foundations phase as well as sometime during the 3rd and 4th year, known as Patient Care OSCEs.

Otolaryngology: See ENT.

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Parallel Plan: A way of making progress in two specialties with different levels of competitiveness. Starting as an MS1, all UWSOM students start to identify at least two specialties of interest with different levels of competitiveness. Students will attend to their parallel plans through the early 4th year. Parallel planning ensures you have a strong application and Match strategy. Your Specialty Career Adviser will advise you if you should consider a dual application in your secondary specialty as a strategy to increase your likelihood of matching.

Pathways: Pathways offer students the opportunity to pursue their interest and develop knowledge and skills specifically tailored to working with vulnerable populations by completing specific requirements. There are currently six Pathways available to medical students:  Black Health Justice, Global Health, Hispanic Health, Indian Health, LGBTQ Health, and Underserved Health.

Patient Care Phase: The12-month clinical phase where students achieve specific competencies in six core clinical disciplines: Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Surgery. Students participate in these clinical experiences in a variety of locations, in both urban and rural settings throughout the WWAMI region.

 PC (Physicianhood Council): Provides proactive professional development opportunities for students by organizing activities addressing themes such as professional identity formation, interpersonal conflict management, and the curation of resources related to professional development. The PC will provide an avenue for student ideas and concerns regarding physicianhood and professional identity formation at the UWSOM.

PCP (Primary Care Practicum): A 12-month practicum occurring during the Foundations phase in which students spend at least one half-day every other week (preferably a full day) in clinic with a local practicing primary care physician.

Personal Statement: A narrative describing your personal inspiration for your specialty and your career goals. Personal statements are required to apply for residency and may be required when applying to scholarships, away rotations, or research opportunities. 

PGY-1: A first-year resident – postgraduate year one. Also referred to as Resident-1 (R1).

PGY-2: A second-year resident – postgraduate year two. Some residency programs start in the second year of residency and continue until the end of the course of training (see Advanced Residency).

Physician’s Oath (also known as the Hippocratic Oath: Is an oath of ethics historically taken by physicians. It is one of the most widely known of Greek medical texts. In its original form, it requires a new physician to swear to uphold specific ethical standards.

Physician’s Oath and Hooding Ceremony: The formal ceremony that acknowledges and celebrates the achievements of WWAMI medical students. Students receive the degree of Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and recite the Hippocratic Oath or Physician’s Oath. The ceremony reminds students of the high standards of performance and behavior to which each aspires and with which each is challenged as they enter their professional careers as physicians.

Physicianhood Council: See PC.

Preceptor: A preceptor is a practicing physician volunteer who provides supervision during clinical practice and facilitates the application of theory to practice for student learners.

Preceptorships:  A mentoring experience in which a preceptor provides personal instruction, training, and supervision to a medical student during the second year of medical school. Preceptorships may include primary care preceptorships but are primarily referred to in this way for Subspecialty Preceptorships completed in Term 3 of Foundations.

Prelim Year (Preliminary Year): A residency program offering only one or two years of foundational training. Most commonly offered in internal medicine or surgery. Generally, a prelim year is completed prior to entry into advanced specialty programs for completion of residency training.

Primary Care Residency Program: Programs with positions in internal medicine or pediatrics that provide a training emphasis on primary care.

Program Coordinator: See Residency Program Coordinator.

Program Director (PD): See Residency Program Director.

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QMed (Queer Medical Student Association): QMed is a medical student led organization with the goal of providing education & information to the medical community and all who are interested in healthcare issues concerning the Queer population (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, etc.) .

QTSoC (Queer/Trans Students of Color): Queer/Trans Students of Color (QTSOC) is an interdisciplinary group of students whose mission is to foster community among and culminate a sense of belonging for students of color who also identify as queer and/or trans (QTPOC). To accomplish this, they provide space for QTPOC identifying students to congregate and network, offer educational opportunities, and support each other throughout their personal and professional journeys.

Queer Medical Student Association: See QMed.

Queer/Trans Students of Color: See QTSoC.

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R3 System: The Registration, Ranking, and Results system is the web-based software application through which all NRMP Matches are managed.

Rank Order List (ROL): A list of residency programs, ranked in order of preference, where residency applicants wish to train. Residency programs also create a ROL to rank applicants whom they have interviewed and wish to train. ROL are submitted to the appropriate match system and are used to determine the match outcome.

Regional Affairs: Regional Affairs provides oversight for the UWSOM curriculum and related policy decisions and may initiate discussion of curricular issues or respond to issues raised by students and faculty at the WWAMI regional sites.

Residency Contracts: Employment contracts that include descriptions of what is expected, including the type of medicine being practiced, the number of hours expected to work, availability and on-call hours, outpatient care duties or administrative duties. These also include details on compensation and benefits. As part of the residency interview process, residency programs send applicants copies of the residency contract to review.

Residency Program Coordinator: A staff member who performs all of the administrative duties needed to run a medical residency program at a teaching hospital or medical facility.

Residency Program Director (referred to as PD): The physician responsible to the Chair of the Department and the Associate Dean of Graduate Medical Education for the overall conduct of the Residency Program.

Residency Training: Graduate medical education that is  completed after obtaining a MD degree. Residency training provides medical student graduates with the additional hands-on training and experience needed to become a skilled physician, and to obtain a license to practice medicine.

Resident: a physician who has completed medical school, has a degree in medicine and is receiving further training in a chosen specialized medical field. Residents practice medicine under the supervision of fully credentialed Attending physicians. They can practice both in a hospital or in a clinic.

Resident-1 (R1): A first-year resident. Also referred to as postgraduate year 1 (PGY1)

RUOP (Rural/Underserved Opportunities Program): A four-week preceptorship (mentorship) available with practicing physicians in rural and urban underserved communities held over the summer between a student’s first and second year.

Rural/Underserved Opportunities Program: See RUOP.

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Career Advising Student Advisory Board (SAB): Advisory Board members provide feedback to enhance the career advising experience for all students. Members serve as liaisons to their cohorts on career planning initiatives. Students of all classes and at all WWAMI sites may apply and then are selected on a yearly basis for membership.

Safari: Also known as General Clinical Schedule. This is the mode in which approximately 75 percent of third-year medical students will register for their required third-year clerkships (Patient Care Phase) through a complex ranking process allowing them the opportunity to schedule all their required clerkships across the entire WWAMI region. Students ranking their preferences in the general pool are expected to take at least three required rotations outside the Seattle area.

SCA: See Specialty Career Advisor.

School of Medicine Academic & Learning Technologies: See SOMALT.

SF Match: The application system used to coordinate the PGY-2 appointments and integrated (PGY1-4) appointments for ophthalmology training programs. The function of SF Match is strictly limited to processing the match, which typically occurs in February.

Secondary Residency Applications: Individual residency programs may request all applicants complete additional application components to answer questions specific to the applicant’s fit with their residency’s goals, values, and areas of focus.

Service Learning: Service-learning is a structured learning experience that combines community-based service or research with preparation and reflection. Students engaged in service learning provide community-based service or research in response to community-identified concerns and learn about the context in which service is provided, the connection between their service and academic coursework, and their roles as citizens and professionals. ​

Service Learning Advisory Committee: See SLAC.

SharePoint: Cloud-based file sharing site on Office 365 that allows users to access files in a HIPPA- and FERPA-compliant manner from any location. Similar to DropBox, files are stored on the web and can be synched to a user’s local computer for easy access.

Shelf Exams: NBME subject (shelf) exam. Medical students are required to take a shelf exam on the last day of their core clerkships (pediatrics at UWSOM uses a different test; Aquifer) and must pass in order to pass the clerkship. There is a cutoff score to qualify for Honors in the rotation.

SHIFA: (Student Health Initiative for Access): An interprofessional, student-run 501c3 that works to provide health services to immigrant and other underserved communities in King County through education and prevention presentations, health screenings, referrals and advocacy.

 SLAC (Service-Learning Advisory Committee): The governing body responsible for approving service learning and advocacy projects, so they are considered official programs of the University of Washington. The group supports students in creating and developing innovative and sustainable service learning and advocacy projects, which are rooted in core principles of equity, partnership, and mutual benefit. Additionally, the SLAC ensures that all participants have appropriate liability coverage and adequate training / licensing to carry out responsibilities associated with service-learning projects.

SLOE (Standardized Letter of Evaluation): An evaluative instrument developed to provide a global perspective on an applicant’s candidacy for training by providing meaningful comparisons to peers applying for training in the same specialty.

Special Assignment Electives: See Away Rotation

 Specialty Career Advisor (SCA): Each specialty at UWSOM has one or more Specialty Career Advisors. SCAs are faculty physicians who are named by their departments as dedicated specialty advisors. Each student is connected to specialty career advising by Spring of the 3rd year. SCAs answer specialty-specific questions, assess students’ level of competitiveness, recommend 4th-year rotations and advise on residency programs.

Sponsored Applicants: See MD Senior

SNMA (Student National Medical Association): The SNMA was founded by Black medical students and is the nation’s oldest and largest independent, student-run organization focused on the needs and concerns of medical students of color. SNMA is dedicated both to ensuring culturally sensitive medical education and services, as well as increasing the number of Black, Latine, and other students of color entering and completing medical school.

SOAP: The Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program is the process by which eligible unmatched, or partially unmatched applicants may apply to programs with unfilled residency positions and receive offers through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) Registration, Ranking, and Results (R3) system

SOM: Acronym for School of Medicine. Using UWSOM is strongly preferred to make sure the location is conveyed.

 SOMALT (School of Medicine Academic & Learning Technologies): Technology support services for students, faculty, and staff in the School of Medicine.

Standardized Letter of Evaluation: See SLOE

Standardized Patient: An individual who is trained to act as a real patient to stimulate a set of symptoms or problems for training or examination purposes.

Step 1: The first of three exams given by USMLE for medical licensure in the United States. Step 1 typically occurs at the end of the student’s Foundations Phase.

Step 2CK: The second of three exams given by USMLE for medical licensure in the United States. Step 2CK typically occurs at the end of the student’s Patient Care Phase.

Step 3: The final of three exams given by USMLE for medical licensure in the United States. Step 3 occurs in residency.

Student National Medical Association: See SNMA.

Student newsletter: Students receive a newsletter from the UW School of Medicine every week, usually late Thursday afternoon. The newsletter opens to news for all classes; at the end of the email are links to individual newsletters for MS1s, MS2s, MS3s and MS4s. Not all items may seem relevant to you, but it’s important to read through the all-student newsletter and your class newsletter in case anything is important for you to know.

Sub-I (APC-S orSub-Internship): An elective clinical rotation usually during 4th year, where students act like interns of a particular specialty and provide patient care under supervision. Most subinternships are primarily inpatient. Subinterns are part of a team or working with an individual attending physician in a primary rather than consultative role.

Supplemental Residency Applications: Some specialties release national application requirements or recommendations that apply to all residency programs in that specialty for a particular match cycle.

Sylvia’s Alliance Against Gender-based Violence: Sylvia’s Alliance is a student-led group that aims to elevate the culture at UWSOM around issues of trauma and violence. Sylvia’s Alliance aims to increase awareness among health professional students of gender-based violence and its consequences to health through development of curricula and provision of training to students. Sylvia’s Alliance will also partner with community organizations in Seattle serving survivors of gender-based violence.

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Targeted Rural Underserved Track: See TRUST.

Threads/Themes: Topics that are integrated throughout the curriculum: scientific threads (pharmacology, pathology, anatomy), clinical threads (foundational clinical experience and clinical skills) and themes (areas identified as important to integrate into the blocks, clinical threads and clerkships: primary care; population health, health equity and global health; diversity, communication and interprofessional education; professionalism and ethics; lifelong learning, and scholarship).

TIM (Themes in Medicine): See EHM.

Track: The WWAMI Track program allows a select group of students to complete most of their required clerkships scheduled in one specific city or state throughout the WWAMI region. Medical students must participate in an application process, whereby selected students are matched to Track sites to fulfill their third or fourth year required clerkships.

Transition to Residency: A required course taught primarily in small group and workshop formats that is designed as a continuing medical education course for students graduating in June of the current year. Students choose sessions related to medical issues, evaluation, management, and procedures involving their planned specialties.

Transitional Year (TY Year): An intern experience that many fields require or prefer where the student experiences a global training before beginning residency training. Trainees experience both surgical and internal medicine rotations. Generally, a transitional year is completed prior to entry into advanced specialty programs for completion of residency training.

Triple I: See III (Independent Investigative Inquiry)

Triple Board Residency Program: A 5-year residency that is an integrated training program focused on pediatrics, general psychiatry, and child and adolescent psychiatry. At the end of the training, residents are board-eligible in all three disciplines.

TY Year: See Transitional Year

TRUST (Targeted Rural Underserved Track): Longitudinal integrated curriculum experience with a single rural and underserved community in the WWAMI region over a student’s entire medical school career, including completing both WRITE and R.

Term 1, 2, and 3: The UWSOM curriculum includes a three-term classroom or Foundation Phase. Students will spend all three terms at their Foundations site.

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UME (Undergraduate Medical Education): The four years of training in medical school to earn the Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree.

Undergraduate Medical Education: See UME.

Underrepresented in Medicine Interest Group: See URiM.

Underserved Pathway: A Pathway supported by the Department of Family Medicine. The Underserved Pathway is a curricular and experiential program that aims to address physician shortages in underserved communities by supporting medical students who are interested in caring for underserved populations. It is longitudinal; students’ participation continues throughout their time in medical school. The Pathway engages students in three educational avenues: mentoring, developing a foundation of knowledge and a variety of real-world experiences.

University of Washington School of Medicine—Gonzaga University Health Partnership: In Spokane, WA, UWSOM partners with Gonzaga University for its Foundations phase (the first 18 months of medical school, equal to years 1 and 2). Although the Spokane site is a part of WWAMI (Washington, the first “W”, includes Seattle and Spokane), the term “WWAMI” isn’t used there due to a previous partnership under that moniker with Washington State University. It is alternatively referred to as UW School of Medicine Spokane.

UPREP: UPREP offers monthly workshops to underrepresented minority undergraduates, community college students and other aspiring future applicants interested in pursuing a career in medicine. The five workshops focus on the topics of: the AMCAS application, writing a personal statement, financial aid and scholarships, activity descriptions, letters of reference and interviews. Sessions are held on a monthly basis with recordings of the sessions, copies of the presentation slide sets and useful handouts available online following the session.

URiM (Underrepresented in Medicine Interest Group): URiM aims to recruit and retain medical students from backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in medicine (underrepresented races/ethnicities, LGBTQ, first generation in college, etc.) through outreach and community building events.

Urology Match (Urology Residency Match Program): This matching system for urology combines the rank-ordered preferences of both the programs and applicants to produce a list of matches acceptable to both parties.USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination): USMLE is a three-step examination for medical licensure in the United States and is sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). Students at the UWSOM are required to pass Step 1 and  Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) a prior to graduation.

U TEST: U TEST is a medical student-run outreach HIV testing program that offers HIV testing and education, promotes sexual health and facilitates treatment referral. We currently provide free rapid HIV testing on a weekly basis at Seattle Area Support Groups and endeavor to expand our HIV testing, advocating and educational services.

UWDOM: University of Washington Dean of Medicine.

UW Medicine: The umbrella organization over University of Washington School of Medicine, Harborview Medical Center, Northwest Hospital & Medical Center, UW Medical Center (UWMC), Valley Medical Center, UW Physicians, UW Neighborhood Clinics and Airlift NW. Note: UW Medicine should never be referred to as University of Washington Medicine.

UWMC: University of Washington Medical Center, located on Montlake Blvd, in Seattle.

UWSOM: Acronym for the University of Washington School of Medicine

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WWAMI Rural Integrated Training Experience: See WRITE.

WRITE (WWAMI Rural Integrated Training Experience): A six-month experience in a rural setting in which students complete clinical training working closely with community preceptors (volunteer clinical instructors).

WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho): (pronounced like Whammy without the ‘h’) The regional medical education program of the University of Washington School of Medicine that serves these five states.

Wyoming WWAMI: The UW School of Medicine’s medical education program in Wyoming. The Foundations phase (years 1 and 2) is taught in partnership with the University of Wyoming in Laramie, WY.

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Zoom: Used for virtual teaching. UWSOM faculty and students use Zoom Pro accounts which are HIPPA-compliant accounts.

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Definitions and terms should be for subjects essential to student progress and whose meanings might not be intuitively clear or obvious.