Patients, Populations & Policy


Patients, Populations and Policy (P3) is a required course for first year medical students at Georgetown University School of Medicine. Objectives are based on learning goals from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), AAMC, USMLE, and from a needs assessment collected from USMLE data and feedback from GUSOM students.

Course Goal

The goal of the P3 course is to enable students to understand the U.S. health care system and the social, cultural, environmental, and policy factors impacting the health of individuals and populations. In addition, our goal is for students to acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to think independently about the patients and problems they will face in clinical practice.

Medical students engage with topics such as Introduction to Social Determinants of Health, Implicit Bias, Racism & Disparities, Population Health & Community Health Assessment, Population Health & Health Disparities, Intro to Vulnerable Populations and Physician/Patient Panels (Homeless, Refugee, LGBTQ, Disability), “13th” Documentary, Exhibits from the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of African American History & Culture, Racial Inequality in the US Panel, Racism and Health Equity, Advocacy and Advocating For Your Patients, Environmental Health & Climate Change, Population Health and Renal Health Disparities, Quality in Healthcare, How to Write an Op-Ed, Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Medical Home/Patient Centered Care, Emergency Preparedness, Intro to Prevention, Navigating the HealthCare System, Health Insurance and Payment, Pharmaceutical Policy.

Learning Objectives

  • Articulate the role of socioeconomic, environmental, structural, cultural, and other determinants of health on the health status and health care of individuals and populations both nationally and globally. (GUSOM Competencies 2, 3, 4, 7, 16, 18)
  • Identify the healthcare challenges faced by vulnerable patient populations and the nature, extent, and type of health disparities in the UnitedStates. (Competencies 2, 3, 4, 7, 17, 18)
  • Describe the concepts of implicit bias and racism and demonstrate the interplay between racism, disempowerment, and health inequities. (Competencies 2, 3, 16, 17, 18)
  • Explain the complementary approaches of clinical medicine, community medicine, public health and population health in reducing health disparities and apply this approach when caring for patients. (Competencies 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 13, 16, 18)
  • Describe the organization and financing of the US health care system and their effects on access, utilization and quality of care for individuals and populations. (Competency 5)
  • Identify the roles and responsibilities of hospital and community-based physicians, public health officials, and other stakeholders as part of the public health emergency preparedness system.(Competencies 2, 4, 5, 7, 11, 12, 13)
  • Value the importance of patient-centered care and improving satisfaction and outcomes.(Competencies 2, 3, 5, 7, 12, 15)
  • Describe various aspects of quality improvement in health care and the factors that influence health care quality, including medical errors and patient safety. (Competencies 5, 12, 15)
  • Analyze motivations, such as poor outcomes, access and cost for health care reform and how they shape current health care reform priorities. (Competency 5)
  • Explain implementation of major components of the Affordable Care Act coverage expansion, including changes in Medicaid eligibility, health insurance exchanges, and employer mandates.(Competency 5)
  • Develop skills for participating in the policy process to impact change at the local, state, or national levels now and in the future. (Competencies 2, 4, 5, 18)
  • Personalize the effects of the concepts covered in this course on my health and the health of others. (Competencies 2, 4, 5, 13, 17, 19)
  • Develop skills to communicate and collaborate effectively with peers. (Competencies 12, 13, 15, 16)


Course Director: Sarah Kureshi, MD, MPH
Course Coordinator: Andrea Cammack