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UNC School of Medicine Asheville

Information about Longitudinal Integrated Curriculum


  • UNC School of Medicine Asheville campus opened in July 2009 with the support of UNC School of Medicine, Mission Health, and Mountain AHEC. Beginning with four students, we expanded to 20 students in 2014, 30 students in 2020-21, and will have 37 students in 2021-22.
  • The foundation of this program, a longitudinal integrated curriculum, is similar to the “Cambridge Model.” In 2004, Harvard restructured their third year clerkships to place a cohort of students in outpatient settings for the majority of their curriculum, which allowed students to follow “their patients” in all health care settings.
  • Longitudinal integrated clerkships (LICs) have the following core principles:
    Relationship and continuity of the four Ps:

    • Preceptors
    • Patients
    • Place
    • Peers
  • Active, hands on roles with patients
  • Flexibility of unscheduled half days for self directed learning

The Asheville community, with its robust primary care services and diverse specialty practice settings, provides an ideal setting for this type of curriculum. (Reference: Latessa R, Beaty N, Royal K, Colvin G, Pathman DE, Heck J. Academic Outcomes of a Community-Based Longitudinal Integrated Clerkships Program. Med Teach 2015; 37(9):862-867).

  • The longitudinal curriculum utilizes a cadre of dedicated teachers and a greater reliance on outpatient teaching. Students have more exposure to experienced practicing physicians and a much greater likelihood of seeing the same patients over an extended period of time and through the continuum of care.
  • The Individualization Phase reverts to block schedules and presents opportunities for rotations in Asheville and rural WNC, as well as Chapel Hill or across the state, nation, or internationally.

What students say about the program:

Andres Lopez
Hey everyone- my name is Andres and I’m one of the students who has been fortunate enough for an Asheville/Hendersonville mixture for my 3rd year. After graduating from UNC I taught in Memphis for five years and saw my middle schoolers become college matriculants. I also became heavily involved in Memphis Inner City Rugby – a non-profit that brings rugby to predominantly low-income and minority schools. Despite all of this, my greatest accomplishment in Memphis was meeting my wife (us after hot yoga in the pic!) who also shared an interest in serving people who looked like us or grew up like us. This interest is ultimately what brought me back to Hendersonville/Asheville for 3rd year.

I grew up in Hendersonville and what brought me back is a burgeoning, heterogonous Latino community. A big draw of coming here was getting to serve that community, relate to my patients, use my Spanish, and examine how we currently serve this community. Despite growing up Latino in this area, I also relate to my patients about other “southern” things: Bret The Hitman Heart was my favorite WWE wrestler, I grew up at Smiley’s Flea Market, and traveling to Asheville for the day was going to the city.

Despite the wonderful breweries, beautiful hiking trails, and progressive feel there are a lot of obstacles WNC patients, Latino or not, face: poverty, education inequity, and complicated social/home dynamics are just a few. These are the same obstacles as the underserved in a metropolitan city – they just look, sound, and feel a bit different. So if you want to serve those in need and learn in a small, intimate environment with patient and high-quality preceptors – WNC is where you will get the most bang for your buck.