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ACE Curriculum

School of Medicine > Education > ACE Curriculum > Objectives and Competencies

Objectives and Competencies

The mission of the KU School of Medicine is to graduate students who have a solid foundation of knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors necessary for a life-long career in medicine, and are prepared for the next phase of their education as a resident. The faculty has developed and refined specific objectives toward achieving these goals, and remains committed to ensuring that graduates achieve them. The ACE curriculum is designed to prepare and track students as they progress towards specific competency standards as measured by milestone achievement and acquisition of entrustable professional activities (EPAs).


A competency is defined as an observable, measurable ability of a learner to integrate knowledge, skills, values and attributes into his or her performance as a medical practitioner. Our competencies are established by the faculty to define the desired performance of learners at specified stages of education. They cover areas such as professional behavior, knowledge acquisition and application, reflective practice, lifelong quality improvement and practical clinical skills. Graduation competencies address, but also look beyond, the requirements of early hospital-based internships to ensure preparation of graduates for lifelong practice in diverse environments.


A milestone is a behavioral descriptor for a level of performance during the journey towards achieving a given competency. These are not descriptions of "how well" a trainee is doing, but rather define the stage of development a trainee currently resides within, for a given competency. Milestones allow both the trainee and trainer to view the arc of development towards competency and allows for self-reflection and personalization of educational goals

Entrustable Professional Activity (EPA)

EPAs are concrete units of work (professional tasks or responsibilities) that a fully trained individual can be trusted to perform unsupervised. To achieve an EPA the trainee must integrate and reliably apply multiple competencies to a specific task. Meeting an EPA requires that the task be independently conducted, observed, and documented by meeting a measurable outcome. EPAs do not replace competencies but synthesize elements of multiple competencies resulting in the independent completion of an important clinical duty.

AAMC (2014). Entrustable Activities for Entering Residency.

Last modified: Jun 03, 2019
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