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Doctor of Medicine (MD)

Doctor of Medicine



The MD program at the Duke University School of Medicine is fully accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the nationally recognized accrediting authority for medical education programs leading to the MD degree in the US and Canada. The MD program received full accreditation status during the 2016-17 academic year. Its next accreditation cycle will occur during the 2024-25 academic year. Contact the Association of American Medical Colleges at 655 K Street NW, Suite 100, Washington, DC 20001-2399, or call (202) 828-0596.

Vision Statement

To develop a transformational education program that will graduate an innovative, inquisitive, creative, and collaborative physician who aspires to be a leader in health practice, delivery, and research.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Duke MD educational program is to prepare a diverse student body to serve their patients and communities through advancing biomedical research and patient-centered clinical practice throughout local, national, and global health. Students will graduate as leaders prepared to serve in a spectrum of medical career paths who will thrive in a collaborative and dynamic health care environment. 

Patient FIRST Curriculum

The Duke MD curriculum provides a transformative learning experience that puts the patient FIRST (Foundations, Immersion, Research, Service, and Transformation). We start with the patient from day one of medical school. The biomedical sciences are taught in the context of patient symptoms integrating differential diagnoses, clinical reasoning, and the social context of medicine into a holistic view for care of the patient. We remove the artificial barrier between the biomedical and clinical clerkship years with intentional vertical integration of these two phases across the first two years. Our curriculum focuses on developing life-long learning and a habit of inquiry. A dedicated research project along with a curriculum on leadership equips our students to continually push the boundaries as change agents of science, patient care, medical education, health systems and public policy. Our graduates will become compassionate, highly competent physicians who put patients FIRST.

The curriculum offers flexibility in the medical education program and new opportunities for intellectual exploration. It also makes heavy demands upon the student. Medical students at the Duke School of Medicine are expected to maintain a consistent level of performance and to demonstrate qualities of initiative and dedication to their chosen profession. A scholarly attitude toward medicine that continues throughout an entire career is an important objective of the medical school. The foundations of this attitude toward learning should accompany the student upon entering.

Students are also expected to maintain a professional attitude toward patients at all times, to respect confidences, and to recognize that they are the recipients of privileged information only to be discussed within the context of clinical education and patient care. This attitude involves consideration not only of speech and personal appearance but also of emotional intelligence, teamwork, selfless service, critical thinking, and integrity.

The medical education program also focuses on ethics and human values. In the face of major advances in medical technology and sciences, today’s medical student must be prepared to deal with new complexities of medical practice. These advances and complexities also make it of paramount importance that medical education enable each student to grow in both depth and breadth as a human being.

Program Objectives

By graduation, student will be able to

  • Domain 1: Ethics, Integrity, and Professionalism. Demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities and an adherence to ethical principles, centered on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Demonstrate the qualities required to sustain lifelong personal and professional growth.

    • Objective

      • Incorporate the values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism in one’s personal and professional behavior

      • Practice the responsibilities of one’s professional identity as a physician and leader 

      • Consistently incorporate feedback and performance data for continual professional development 

      • Recognize and address ethical issues in clinical care and research

      • Develop and engage strategies in self-care to promote well-being and resilience

      • Provide timely and respectful constructive feedback to improve the learning environment

  • Domain 2: Scientific Foundations and Medical Knowledge. Demonstrate knowledge of established and evolving biomedical and clinical sciences related to the development, structure, and function of the human body in health and disease as well as the application of this knowledge to patient care. Practice seeking new biomedical knowledge as part of a commitment to life-long learning.

    • Objective

      • Continually seek and develop foundational understanding of the biomedical sciences

      • Demonstrate application of foundational sciences to clinical care

  • Domain 3: Clinical Skills. Practice the clinical skills needed for patient care across a variety of clinical settings, conditions, and acuity. Students should be entrusted to perform these skills upon graduation in a patient-centered manner across the variety of contexts. 

    • Objective

      • Efficiently gather essential and accurate information through history taking and physical examination

      • Develop a prioritized differential diagnosis justified by key features of the presentation

      • Formulate diagnostic and therapeutic plans based on prioritized differential diagnoses

      • Develop clinical questions and retrieve evidence to inform diagnostic and therapeutic plans

      • Order and interpret diagnostic tests

      • Organize, prioritize, and carry out patient care tasks

      • Differentiate and manage acute life-threatening conditions

      • Manage common chronic conditions

      • Describe value-based principles and risk-benefit analyses in patient care

      • Demonstrate tolerance for ambiguity in patient care management

      • Demonstrate principles of patient-centered communication

      • Counsel patients and families in health promotion and disease prevention

  • Domain 4: Patient-centered Systems of Practice. Demonstrate respect and understanding of the social context of health care, including the impact of culture, society, environment, and bias on health care experiences and outcomes. Practice advocacy and patient-centered care that is compassionate, objective, and meets patient needs through humanity. Develop skills to consistently survey contemporary social and cultural contexts to anticipate impacts to patients and populations. 

    • Objective

      • Assess the impact of social historical and cultural contexts on healthcare and systemic inequities

      • Demonstrate empathy and responsiveness to the needs of diverse patients and populations

      • Support patients in coping with the impact of disease on their lives

      • Advocate for patients across health care systems

      • Recognize the impact of systems of care on patients, communities, and populations

  • Domain 5: Communication and Teamwork. Demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in the effective exchange of information and collaboration with interprofessional team members. Demonstrate the ability to engage in an interprofessional team in a manner that optimizes safe, effective patient- and population-centered care. Develop skills to adapt one’s role on the team, based on patient care and team needs.

    • Objective

      • Demonstrate compassion and respect for interprofessional team members

      • Recognize your role on an interprofessional team across patient care encounters

      • Collaborate with interprofessional teams

      • Practice effective communication with team members in patient care discussions

      • Complete accurate medical documentation on time

      • Contribute to the learning of others on the team 

  • Domain 6: Critical thinking, Research and Scholarly Activity. Demonstrate skills in contributing to and applying our body of knowledge in a given domain, including biomedical sciences, clinical research, medical humanities, health systems, global health, interdisciplinary practices, medical education and and/or patient care. Develop skills that prepare students to be change agents in their chosen fields through skills in life-long learning and improvement.

    • Objective

      • Develop skills for scientific inquiry and communication of knowledge

      • Identify, analyze, translate, and participate in discovery of new knowledge

      • Develop skills using principles of design thinking, data science and technological advances 

      • Recognize opportunities where scientific inquiry can advance patient care

The preceding objectives were adapted from the sources below:

Duke Medical Alumni Association

The Duke Medical Alumni Association (DMAA) supports and promotes the interests of Duke University School of Medicine and the extended Duke Health community of residents, fellows, medical students, volunteers, and donors. Today, the DMAA includes more than 15,000 Duke University School of Medicine graduates including former trainees who live and work across the nation and around the globe. Our goal is to nurture meaningful and satisfying lifelong relationships among alumni, students, and faculty and to promote opportunities for connection and learning. Each year more than five hundred reuniting alumni attend the annual Medical Alumni Weekend, which features the Distinguished Medical Alumni Awards Dinner, Breakfast with the Dean, and class specific activities. The association also supports current medical students, trainees, and fellows in various ways. DMAA sponsors events and programs to assist medical students in networking with School of Medicine alumni; celebrating educational and career milestones; and creating opportunities to engage in alumni and donor events as student representatives. DMAA also produces several publications for alumni and current trainees. DukeMed Alumni News and Blue Devil Docs feature news stories highlighting the school’s faculty and students engaged in innovative research and educational programs, while the Golden Blue Devils newsletter is geared to senior alumni (fifty years post-graduation) and emeriti faculty.

Student Personal and Professional Advisory System for MD Program Students

The advisory dean system is the heart of the Office of Student Affairs. Working as a team with other OSA staff members and an academic resource consultant, the five advisory deans are responsible for the academic, personal, and career advising of Duke medical students. Each incoming student is assigned to an advisory dean and will work closely with that dean over time to maximize the potential of the Duke curriculum for their individual needs and career goals, to gain access to resources the student needs for their professional development, and to have a confidential advisor for any matter. Students are welcome to seek help from any of the five advisory deans, and will also work with advisors in different medical specialties to develop their plan for residency. In addition to individual student advising, the Office of Student Affairs organizes lunch group discussions in the first year and a variety of seminars regarding curriculum planning, residency application and professional development throughout medical school, and coordinates major events (Orientation, White Coat Ceremony, Match Day, Graduation) in the life of the school. Advisory deans also serve on any institutional committees that impact the interest of the students.