This week, members of the first class to start at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine's new campus in Arizona will embark on the first leg of their medical careers and will find something extra in the curriculum as well.

The 50 students at Mayo's new Phoenix-Scotsdale campus will be introduced to the school’s Science of Health Care Delivery curriculum. Piloted in 2015, the curriculum focuses on exposing students to the special challenges of working in a health system.

Traditionally, medical school students hear little about the inner workings of a health care system. The Science of Health Care Delivery, designed to develop well-rounded physicians, delves into six areas: health policy, economics and technology, person-centered care, leadership, team-based care, population-centered care and high-value care. Students may not become experts in all of these, but the course lays the foundation for them to become familiar with how a health system functions.

“To me, success is that students get all these other pieces, even if they’re not deep in all of them, but that they see all these levels of the system,” says Stephanie Starr, M.D., director for science of health care delivery education. Having insight into how the front-line team operates and knowledge of the health insurance system allow students to see all the complexities of health care.

At the end of their four years of medical training, students will have completed 74 modules around the science of health care delivery and will receive certificates of Science of Health Care Delivery as part of their degrees to signify the work they’ve done in this “third science,” says Starr. The first class to receive the certificate will graduate in 2019.

Though the curriculum is still new, it is constantly evolving, says Frederic Meyer, M.D., Juanita Kious Waugh Executive Dean for Education, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. “I’d consider where we’re at version 1.0,” he says. Currently, the curriculum is being tailored to incorporate the effect of health disparities on care delivery and the economics of care; in other words, soon-to-be physicians learn how to treat populations with diminishing resources.

The Mayo Clinic School of Medicine was recently chosen to be part of the Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Institute for the Transformation of Medical Education. The $52.5 million initiative is funded by the Kern Institute and will bring together medical schools to share best practices and “transform medical education across the continuum from premedical school to physician practice,” according to a Mayo news release.

The Kerns and the Kern Foundation have made donations to the Mayo Clinic in the past, including a $67.3 million donation to establish the Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery.

The Medical College of Wisconsin will lead the collaborative, which also includes Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine, the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School, the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.