SOM Mission

SCHOOL OF MEDICINE'S Mission and Objectives


The School of Medicine of Meharry Medical College pledges to offer a unique, quality, health science education to students of diverse origins, especially African Americans, with emphasis on addressing underserved populations. In addition, the School of Medicine will teach and monitor excellence in the delivery of primary or holistic care, provide a foundation for life-long learning, and conduct research relevant to the health of the disadvantaged.

Educational Competencies

The educational competencies of the medical education program leading to the M.D. degree emphasizes medical knowledge, patient care, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, systems-based practice, and practice-based learning and improvement. The candidate for the M.D. degree will be required to show competence in each of these areas, as follows:

Medical Knowledge

  • Normal biological and physiological processes of cells and tissues
  • Nature of various agent/mechanisms that produce changes to normal structure/function of cell.   
  • Mechanism of action of drugs and the metabolic and toxic effects 
  • Mechanisms of normal growth, development, and aging   
  • Concepts related to normal behavior and mental illness   
  • The scientific method and the ability to critically analyze data in the identification of disease/treatment   
  • Determinants of poor health and the psychosocial, economic, and cultural factors that contribute to the development of common maladies

Patient Care

  • To obtain history and perform physical exam   
  • To order and interpret results of diagnostic tests and evaluative procedures   
  • To draw conclusions from history/physical exam to identify health problems   
  • To develop and implement appropriate treatment plan for health problems   
  • To formulate an appropriate differential diagnosis   
  • To access and evaluate the correctness of clinical decisions and efficacy of therapeutic interventions
  • To adjust/modify treatment plan based on new information   
  • To perform technical procedures specific to a specialty   
  • Diagnose and participate in treatment of mental illness   
  • Apply use of drugs in patient care   
  • Apply psychosocial principles in delivery of health care   
  • Apply principles of preventive and health maintenance in the delivery of health care   
  • Interpret laboratory results in identifying diseases/health problem
  • Recognize normal growth and development   
  • Apply principles of evidence-based medicine and critical data analyses to clinical decision making
  • Recognize patients with life-threatening conditions   
  • Integrate basic sciences knowledge in the clinical assessments/management of patients   
  • The knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors necessary to perform as generalist clinician.

Interpersonal and Communication Skills

  • Effective interpersonal communication with patients, family, and members of the healthcare team.


  • The ability to practice in a manner that reflects an outstanding and acceptance of ethical principles and other recognized standards of professional behavior which guide and characterize the actions of physicians   
  • Knowledge of ethical principles related to research involving human subjects and the responsibilities of the physician   
  • The ability to interact respectfully and effectively with patients, peers, and other healthcare workers from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds  
  • The ability to show compassion and respect for the dignity of patients and confidentiality in the delivery of health care

Systems-based Practice

  • Demonstrate the ability to work effectively within the larger context and system of healthcare   
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the various aspects of health care delivery systems including, the social, economic, and political dimensions   
  • Apply principles of cost containment in the delivery of healthcare   
  • Work effectively with healthcare teams to enhance patient care and safety

Practice-based Learning and Improvement

  • Continuing clinical proficiency and competency in medical practice through the utilization of acquired basic knowledge skills resulting from the process of lifelong learning   
  • The ability to use information technology to access online information, manage information, and to critically evaluate evidence from the scientific literature in decision making patient care