Foundations Phase

WWAMI Foundations (Year 1-2):

WWAMI is the UW School of Medicine’s one-of-a-kind, multi-state medical education program. The acronym, WWAMI, stands for the states served by the UW School of Medicine: Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho.

Students are educated at their regional site (Seattle, WA; Spokane, WA; Laramie, WY; Anchorage, AK; Bozeman, MT; or Moscow, ID) for the first 18 months of medical school — the Foundations Phase.

The Foundations Phase includes:

  • A 2-3 week orientation and immersion period in basic clinical skills held prior to the start of the academic year to prepare students to work with patients;
  • Seven integrated, interdisciplinary block courses which bring together basic, clinical and social science;
  • Topics offered longitudinally are integral to each block (pathology/histology, anatomy/imaging or human form and function, and pharmacology);
  • Preparation for patient care through longitudinal instruction in clinical skills and direct work with patients in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Close relationships are developed with faculty mentors and community physicians during this phase.
  • Foundations phase ends with the Consolidation course, which reinforces content taught in the first 15 months, and allows time for preparation for USMLE Step 1 licensing exam and transition to patient care phase.
Integrated Threads
  • Scientific threads (pharmacology, pathology, and anatomy/human form and function)
  • Clinical thread (foundational clinical experience and clinical skills in both classroom and patient care settings)
Themes in Medicine

This course integrates School of Medicine thematic content with an emphasis on core concepts needed for clinical practice in the changing healthcare environment. Students will explore areas related to humanism in medicine including the themes of diversity, equity and inclusion, ethics, determinants of health, and health systems science.

Research Methods

This course teaches the fundamental skills necessary to critically appraise the methods, results, significance and application of clinical research studies.

For more information on Curricular requirements or to see a visual layout of the curriculum by cohort year please visit: Office of Curriculum 

WWAMI Academic Support in Foundations Phase:

Each state is considered a Foundations Site and has its own Learning Specialist available to assist students. Learning Specialists track academic performance and progress, assist with connecting students to appropriate institutional resources, provide periodic presentations (licensing exams,study skills, etc.) and provide students with encouragement and support.

Regional Learning Specialists meet with students at their respective Foundation sites during MS1 and MS2 years and in preparation for Step 1.

Learning Specialists typically support students with strategies and skills to improve performance in their coursework, registration/planning for Step 1 and support/check-ins throughout the dedicated study period for Step 1.

Commonly Asked Questions:

What is the CAS Exam?

NBME customized assessments provide institutions with a tool for measuring examinees’ understanding of a series of content areas as defined by the institution. Because course objectives vary, customized assessments allow faculty to build assessments that target the specifics of a given curriculum.

The CAS exam is a great tool to help students identify weaker subject areas to study in the summer between their MS1 and MS2 year in preparation for the Step 1 exam that occurs in the winter of the MS 2 year.

What is the CBSE Exam?

The CBSE is a standardized exam offered by the National Board of Medical Examiners that approximates the content on the USMLE Step 1 exam. It stands for “Comprehensive Basic Science Examination.”

CBSE exams are administered through your medical school and are designed to assess your knowledge from the pre-clinical years of medical training. The score you get on the CBSE is translated into a Step 1 equivalent score, which should help students get a sense of where they stand ahead of the Step 1 dedicated period.

I did not pass a thread/block. What does remediation look like?

The format of remediation courses is at the discretion of the block, course or thread director, but will always conclude with an assessment of the student’s mastery of the material, typically via a multiple-choice or short-answer exam. Students should to reach out to the block or thread director if they have any questions about the particulars of their independent study process.

Once students are enrolled in the remediation independent-study course, block/thread directors and site faculty are available if students have questions about difficult content or need input on how to focus their studying efforts.

For more information on remediation or to see commonly asked questions please visit: Office of Curriculum – Remediation

What is a thread grade and how do I track it?

The Foundations Phase of the UWSOM Curriculum includes recurring content integrated throughout the basic science blocks, known as threads. Starting with the Entering Year 2017 class, the three threads are Anatomy & Embryology or Human Form & Function, Pharmacology, and Histology & Pathology.

The University of Washington uses Canvas to provide course content and post student grades. Students can access their cumulative thread grades from completed blocks via the Thread Gradebook pages on Canvas.

For more information on thread mastery or to see commonly asked questions please visit: Office of Curriculum – Thread Mastery