University of Virginia School of Medicine
Principles of Medicine Committee
Virginia Taylor Lyons reported on the first year of awards under the new 4th Year Medical Student Teaching Awards program. Seven applications were received and a committee of 3 faculty members and 3 medical students (chaired by Dr. Lyons) made two awards:
A. Scott Iwashyna for developing the “Into Action” group of peer sexual assault educators.
B. Matthew Traynor for developing a new 4th year medical student elective on “Financial Principles for Medical Professionals”.
At an awards ceremony, each of these individuals were presented with a Jefferson Cup and a $100 cash prize; the funds for this round of awards were provided by Dr. Jerry Short in the Office of Medical Education. Virginia pointed out that the faculty members on the awards committee have two year terms.
- Dr. Vern Juel, co-Chair of the Curriculum Committee Development and Design Team developing the new Basic Science for Careers component of the curriculum, gave a detailed PowerPoint presentation on this program. The focus of this post-Clerkship activity is on the basic sciences as applied to a particular discipline. It is meant to go beyond the basic sciences presented in the first two years of the curriculum and is not designed to replace or review what had been given earlier. At a time when most students will have decided on their residency area, it is thought that they will be highly motivated to development a deeper understanding of the science underlying their chosen discipline.
The goals of this program include:
A. Relate basic science to the individual student’s chosen discipline (future residency) focusing on application of basic science principles used in daily practice of the chosen discipline
B. Highlight the appropriate basic science from the 1st and 2nd year courses at this post-clerkship, pre-elective period in the curriculum
C. Motivate and mentor students in their chosen field of medicine
D. Increase the competitiveness of UVa medical students for the top residency programs
E. Increase interest in careers in academic medicine
The format of Basic Sciences for Careers will be a four week, full-time experience, probably given in May of the 3rd year, following the Core Clerkship period, prior to most electives, the residency applications and USMLE-2. The course will contain three types of educational activities:
A. Plenary Sessions – on topics of unusual relevance to all students
B. Selective sessions – on topics that cross over multiple, but not all, medical disciplines.
C. Career oriented small groups of 10-15 students that will emphasize individual student research and presentation.
Dr. Juel pointed out that it was anticipated that the most likely role for basic scientists would be in the Plenary and Selective sessions. However, it was pointed out that it might be appropriate to have basic science co-leaders for the groups, as is the case for some PoM1 small groups and will be the case for the Cells to Society small groups.
Plenary Sessions will cover major topics in clinical practice relating to basic science with universal relevance. They will represent a more integrated and sophisticated treatment of earlier material. All students will be required to attend these, regardless of their chosen Career Group. It is currently anticipated that there will be approximately eight 2.5 hour long Plenary Sessions on topics such as: “Drug-Drug Interactions”, “Appropriate Antibiotic Prescribing”, “Homeostasis” and “Fluid and Electrolyte Management/Acid-Base Disorders”. Some members of the Principles of Medicine Committee felt that the number of Plenary Sessions should be kept to a small number in order to emphasize the more interactive activities (Selective Sessions and Career Groups).
Selective Sessions will cover focused topics with relevance across several disciplines of medicine, such as “Dementia”, “Neonatal Infections” and “Management of Shock”. Approximately 30 of these sessions will be developed and students will be expected to choose 8 sessions. It is not clear how many different Selective Sessions will be presented at any one time or if the individual Selectives will be presented multiple times. The Selective format may also be used to present an optional session on effective PowerPoint presentations. Karen Grandage suggested that the HSL staff could help provide the PowerPoint training, something they are well equipped to do.
Career Groups. Each student will choose a discipline-specific career group. There will be 10-12 groups of 10-15 students each covering areas such as Adult Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Neuroscience (including Psychiatry), Radiology and Anesthesiology. The principal activity of the small groups will be individual medical student PowerPoint presentations based researched topics. Although not originally envisioned, it was suggested by Heidi Scrable that there might be a role for basic scientists as co-leaders for the Career Groups. An alternative suggestion was the Career Groups might want to use guest basic science faculty depending on the specific topic of the particular student presentation. An outgrowth of this idea is that each medical student would be expected to recruit a faculty mentor (basic scientist or clinician) for each presentation; this person would help them prepare for the presentation. Julie Turner suggested that the small groups might want to use a journal club format and/or may wish to use problem sets.
Resources that will be needed in order to implement Basic Science for Careers include a faculty course coordinator, a course staff coordinator, Plenary session directors, Selective directors and career group leaders (or co-leaders if the Career groups are staffed by more than one faculty member, as is the case for the PoM1 groups and Cells to Society small groups). In addition, rooms will be needed for the Plenary sessions, the Selectives and the Career Groups to meet. These rooms will be a significant resource issue, but under the new curriculum schedule, the 2nd year schedule will be over by the time that Basic Science for Careers is given, releasing Room 1-14 Jordan and the PoM-2 groups meeting sites for use.
Additional comments by Principles of Medicine Committee members:
1. There was discussion about the balance of active and passive learning activities in Basic Sciences for Careers and the issue of whether the medical students, after completing the core Clerkship experience, will embrace a return to heavy classroom-based activities. There was some feeling that there should be only limited numbers of the Plenary Sessions, given that these will be the most passive of the activities. There should be efforts to make the Selective sessions as interactive as possible.
2. Bob Kadner reminded the group about the Microbiology course’s past experience with what was called “Controversies”. And suggested this model might work for Basic Science for Careers.
3. Bill Hobbs expressed concern that Basic Science for Careers will require an enormous amount of collective effort and asked whether the benefit to be gained would justify that investment.
4. David Ryan, current 1st year class President, strongly endorsed the concept. Heidi Scrable felt that it would be a great tie-in with the basic sciences. Don Innes pointed out that this was an opportunity to introduce some basic sciences in a clinical context at a time when medical students would be highly motivated to learn the basic science that was relevant to their now chosen career field (residency).