School of Medicine

Foundational Improvement Science Curriculum Program

The Foundational Improvement Science Curriculum program trains OHSU educators to master the tools and expertise unique to teaching improvement science in both undergraduate and graduate medical education, and doctoral nursing programs. This third science builds on the traditional basic and clinical sciences.

FISC is a unique OHSU faculty development program created in 2015 to respond to the challenge of wide variability in improvement science education across OHSU health progressions programs. The variability was driven by a shortage of experienced faculty and competing demands on learners' time. In FISC, participants learn and apply the foundational concepts of improvement science though nine in-person didactic and experiential sessions over 10 months. Learning is enhanced with inter-session readings, online modules and independent projects providing hands-on training with improvement science methods.

As a result of participation in the program, faculty and education leaders develop and receive feedback on a curriculum tailored for their learners using teaching tools and resources that are relevant to their learners. The resulting curriculum will provide the participant's learners with the foundations of improvement and results in meaningful engagement in improvement work wherever they are rotating during their training and wherever they may practice after graduation.

  • Educate UME and GME faculty in improvement science and project coaching
  • Assist participating faculty to design a relevant foundational improvement science curriculum for each of their academic program(s) and implement it the following academic year
  • Ensure all OHSU medical students and house officers learn and engage in improvement science
  • Ensure that OHSU meets its LCME and ACGME requirements related to improvement science


  • The fundamentals of improvement science
  • Application of improvement methods and tools
  • How to teach foundational improvement science to build relevant knowledge
  • Mechanisms to develop a relevant curriculum by discipline and level of learner
  • Strategies to assess learner competencies in line with internal OHSU and external (i.e. accreditation) expectations
  • How to develop a scholarly agenda in improvement science


  • Experiential, project-based learning whereby faculty will develop a FISC for their program
  • Availability of tools and content on a range of topics relevant to patients, providers, organizations and systems
  • Adaptable to each academic program and discipline

Competency map
View 2016-2017 competency map

Ground rules and design principles
View 2016-2017 ground rules and design principles principles

Our participants are faculty and education leaders who:

  • Are responsible for designing an improvement science curriculum for their program including the development of implementation and evaluation plans
  • Have the capacity to become their program's improvement science faculty expert
  • Are able to design, complete and present an improvement project during the course of the program

28th Annual National Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care
Orlando, Florida, December 2016
"Foundational Improvement Science Curriculum: An Interprofessional Faculty Development Program"

Presentation at the Conference on Improving the Quality & Affordability of Healthcare Through Co-Production of Healthcare Services
Cincinnati, Ohio, May 2017
"An Interprofessional Faculty Development Program in Improvement Science"

More information

To learn more about FISC, please contact Kim Irish, M.S., C.P.H.Q, Program Manager