Throughout Phase 1 of the MD program, students will participate in small-group, case-based learning through PaCE (Patient Centered Education) Cases. PaCE Cases are a centerpiece of the ForWardcurriculum, connecting concepts in a way that makes them relevant and applicable to authentic clinical scenarios.

The sessions are student-centered and inquiry-based. Students will do most of the talking to discuss, synthesize, integrate and identify knowledge related to each case. The PaCE facilitator’s role is to ensure that small groups stay on topic, address the learning objectives and provide feedback to each student as well as the group as a whole.

In addition to medical knowledge, PaCE Cases create an environment that enhances learning in many other important competency areas:

Problem solving

Cases provide a mental model to integrate concepts as they relate to a clinical problem, increasing retention and ability to transfer knowledge to future clinical scenarios.


Each student has an identified role in the group and the experience and quality of the work depends on active participation of all group members.


Effective communication skills and constructive feedback will enhance the learning environment and improve group process.

Lifelong learning

The process requires learners to become adept at identifying gaps in knowledge and finding appropriate resources to address those gaps.


Students hold one another accountable to the learning standards, quality of work, learning environment and group interactions.