Pathways Programs

The Pathways Programs in the MD Degree

The Pathways Programs at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine are parallel programs designed to provide individualized enrichment experiences for students with interest or expertise in pursuits beyond the core curriculum. We have nine active pathways:

  • Addiction Pathway
  • Advocacy and Public Health Pathway

  • Andrew B. Kaufman World Medicine Pathway

  • Climate and Health Pathway

  • Humanities Pathway

  • Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Wellness and Preventive Care Pathway

  • Medical Education Scholars Pathway

  • Dr. Edward J. and Nancy M. Mueller Health Innovation and Entrepreneurship Pathway

  • Urban Health Pathway

Each pathway has a unique curriculum. On average, pathway students meet weekly or biweekly in the pre-clerkship phase to explore content and complete mentored projects or scholarly activities in the pathway. 

Dual degree-seeking students at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine are unable to participate in the pathways.

Addiction Pathway

The Addiction Medicine Pathway is the 9th and most recent educational pathway to be offered to students at CWRU School of Medicine.  Launched in 2023, the Addiction Medicine Pathway is a four to five year longitudinal educational and clinical experience for students who are interested in prevention, identification, treatment and study of patients with substance use disorders.  

The pathway provides each student participant with a faculty adviser who is board-certified in addiction medicine or addiction psychiatry, a research adviser, and if desired a mentor from the large community of individuals established in stable recovery from substance use disorders in our community.  In addition, these advisers who assist each student in developing their own individualized learning plan with respect to the pathway, supplementary addiction medicine specific courses and clinical experiences are offered to students throughout their tenure in medical school.  Finally, a monthly seminar series is presented by regional, national, and international leaders in the prevention, identification, intervention, and treatment of substance use disorders.  

Faculty Co-Lead: Ted Parran, MD 
Faculty Co-Lead: Neera Gupta, MD


Advocacy and Public Health Pathway

The Advocacy and Public Health Pathway will support, develop and sustain students’ professional commitment to advocacy. The first five weeks of the core curriculum provides all students a solid foundation in epidemiology, biostatistics, bioethics, health systems science, and health disparities. This introduction to the complex determinants of health, how social and environmental factors impact health, and the value and importance of public health, provides a basic understanding of how physicians can act as advocates for patients within healthcare and public health systems. Through a framework of interprofessional experiences developed in partnership with multiple community organizations, The Advocacy and Public Health Pathway builds on this foundation, providing additional training for students interested in exploring the multitude of ways physicians can leverage their power and expertise to support the social, economic and political change necessary to improve the health of populations.

Faculty Lead: Vanessa Maier, MD
Faculty Co-Lead: Tani Malhotra, MD

Visit the Advocacy and Public Health Pathway Website.

Andrew B. Kaufman World Medicine Pathway

The Andrew B. Kaufman World Medicine Pathway will prepare medical students for advanced training and careers that address global health challenges. A foundational curriculum during the pre-clerkship years will focus on building knowledge, skills, and attitudes through a series of expert-led seminars, simulations, and other unique experiences. Students will then have a mentored experience in the clinical years focused on biomedical research, clinical care, capacity building, or global health policy/advocacy, which will include international elective time with funding support.

Co-Faculty Lead: Suet Kam Lam, MD, MPH, MS
Co-Faculty Lead: Sahera Dirajlal-Fargo, DO

Visit the Andrew B. Kaufman World Medicine Pathway website

Climate and Health Pathway:

The Climate and Health Pathway will foster awareness and inspire action among medical students on the impact of our changing climate on the health of patients and communities, including interconnections with advocacy and health equity. Students will also explore the profound impact that modifications in the delivery of healthcare can have on our environment. Through seminars, workshops, and experiential learning, students will gain the confidence and knowledge to educate their patients, colleagues, and other health professionals, be poised to incorporate climate change and health issues into their practice of medicine, and become leaders in the field of climate change and health.

Faculty Lead: Ilyssa Gordon, MD, PhD

Humanities Pathway

(including the history of medicine, the arts, and social medicine). 

The Humanities Pathway explores the fundamental questions of what it is to be human and to be a healthcare professional. Students in the Humanities Pathway will think critically about the complex interplay among patients, health care professionals, and culture. They will develop innovative and informed approaches to health, well-being, and quality of life for the patients and communities they serve, while developing resilience and passion to improve the culture of medicine.

Faculty lead: Erin Gentry Lamb, PhD

Visit the Humanities Pathway website

Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Wellness and Preventive Care Pathway

(Including nutrition, exercise, and culinary and lifestyle medicine) 

The Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Wellness and Preventive Care Pathway prepare students for excellence in the field of multidimensional and holistic wellness, equipping them with the knowledge and training to encourage healthy lifestyles. Content includes a speaker series, practical applications in healthy cooking, relaxation techniques, and more, which will help participants understand and appreciate wellness that encompasses mind, body, and spirit, as well as social and environmental factors. 

Co-Faculty Lead: Hope Barkoukis, PhD 
Co-Faculty Lead: Stephanie Harris, PhD, RDN, LD

Visit the Mandel Wellness Pathway website

Medical Education Scholars Pathway

Today’s students are tomorrow’s teachers.  The Medical Education Scholars Pathway seeks to support students in their development as teachers and educational scholars.  Students collaborate with faculty to co-create curricula and use well-established approaches to turn their efforts into scholarship.  Additionally, they serve their local School of Medicine colleagues through their teaching and the Greater Cleveland population through their efforts to provide community education.  

Faculty lead: Amy Wilson-Delfosse, Ph.D. 

Dr. Edward J. and Nancy M. Mueller Health Innovation and Entrepreneurship Pathway

The Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine is pleased to offer the Dr. Edward J. and Nancy M. Mueller Health Innovation and Entrepreneurship Pathway. Innovation and aligned entrepreneurial activities are increasingly focused upon as required value-drivers in patient care, healthcare economics, and regional economic development. The changing landscape of healthcare resulting from an aging population and economic reform imparts needs for new approaches to care that is more effective, informed, and reasonable. Critically, innovation opportunities rarely come from silos; rather, modern innovation opportunities emanate from a hands-on understanding of current needs. This course reflects the belief across the healthcare operation, to serve as conduits of innovation and change. The course seeks participation from a select group of students who will receive instruction and mentorship from the School of Medicine leadership and advisors to assess and, potentially, develop new solutions to important healthcare problems.

Co-Faculty Lead: Mahmoud Ghannoum, PhD, MBA, FIDSA, FAAM
Co-Faculty Lead: Joseph "Joe" Jankowski, PhD

Urban Health Pathway

(including health policy, health advocacy, and caring for medically vulnerable populations) 

The Urban Health Pathway allows students to develop a meaningful focus on their role as doctors in urban communities. Community experts, patients, and mentors will illuminate real-life health concerns as students take part in skill-building opportunities, leadership development, community engagement, and clinical rotations tailored to urban health. 

Faculty lead: Lisa Navracruz, MD