Program MissionTo guide medical students through their transformation into physicians, deepen their understanding of physicians’ interactions with the world around them, and support students in reaching their full potential.
Co – Coaching
M – Mindful reflection
P – Professional Identity Formation
A – Assessment
S – Self-care
S – Self-directed learning
The COMPASS Course will inspire and support students in maximizing their personal and professional potential. During the course students will complete comprehensive assessments of their clinical skills and medical knowledge. They will also participate in activities and coaching to support their own professional growth. Aligned with several of the guiding values for curriculum reform (longitudinal relationships, growth-mindset, vitality and well-being, outcomes based, and individualization), the COMPASS program supports each student by pairing them with a trusted faculty member, their COMPASS guide.
What is a Traverse Week?
Each Student Will Have a Unique Schedule
The Hybrid COMPASS program is built around five Traverse weeks. Each week has a learning theme focused on an important aspect of professional identity formation. The weekly structure will consist of a combination of large and small group interactive learning opportunities covering a range of topics that are all designed to support professional growth. There will also be comprehensive assessments of clinical skills and medical knowledge as well as flexible time to check-in with coaches and attend to self-care.
On entry to medical school, each student is assigned a medical student coach, a “COMPASS Guide,” who will work the students over the arc of their medical school career, from orientation to commencement. Our Guides are clinician-educators, selected for their success and enthusiasm working with students. Each Guide acts in a number of roles for their assigned students- as a coach, a facilitator, an advisor, a sponsor, and more.
For a deeper overview of our individual faculty please visit our Guides Profile page.
During the first year, Guides and their student groups meet weekly to discuss topics including Health and Society, Professional Identity Formation, and Career Navigation. Guides also meet one on one with their student at set intervals throughout the year for individualized coaching sessions. As students progress through their clinical years, Guides will serve as a resource for clinical development, career decisions, building out the web of support we offer our students.
Out of our COMPASS Program, we run a fourth year elective called the Physician as Advisor (also known as the Navigator Program). Students in the course are referred to as Navigators for their role in guiding fellow medical students. Our Navigators are senior medical students chosen for their interest in community building, advising, and the School of Medicine broadly. Incoming students meet our Navigators on day one of orientation during a welcome celebration. The Navigator program is highly student-driven and helmed by two student co-directors who plan class and school wide events. Enrolled elective students also receive dedicated training in leadership skills throughout the year.
Through this elective, we build community across classes, foster community in our College system, support individual students though career advising resources and near peer mentorship, while providing participating students authentic leadership training.
The Trek Curriculum has an explicit focus on medical student professional identity formation (PIF). This content begins during medical student orientation and recurs at regular intervals in the preclinical and clinical years. Through small group discussion and large group panels, students have space to explore how existing personal identities are transformed during medical school into personal and professional identities. While the COMPASS Program has a prominent PIF thread, this theme occurs and is reinforced in other facets of our curriculum as well.Some of the topics we address in our PIF curriculum include:
The Office of Student Life offers a number of its services through the COMPASS Program, including personal statement workshops, CV workshops, ERAS navigation workshops, mock interviews workshops, and conversations with the Deans. These resources complement other resource from of our COMPASS Program, the Office of Student Life, and subspecialty advisors.
Our goal is to begin discussions with students around professional identity formation early, to help explore values that may inform career decisions. Career decisions occur at different times for every student- our goal is to make sure these are well-informed choices, both internally and externally.
Lawrence Haber, MD
COMPASS Program Director
University of Colorado, School of Medicine
Division of Hospital Medicine,
Denver Health Medical Center
COMPASS Program Coordinator
Office of Student Life — Fitzsimons Building, Room N1219 | Mail Stop C292
13001 E. 17th Place, Aurora, CO 80045
Direct Line: 303-724-6406