September 08, 2016
It’s hard to believe we are already five weeks into the new curriculum for our first-year medical school students. It seems like school just started – and it certainly still feels like summer.
The new curriculum integrates basic science and clinical experiences with an emphasis on active learning in small groups and new pedagogical methods. It’s wonderful to see the hard work of our faculty and staff realized – but the work isn’t over. Weekly opportunities for student self-assessment, faculty review sessions, and frequent faculty feedback are engaging students in shaping their learning experiences.
In the second semester, the first-year students will begin a yearlong longitudinal patient care experience supervised by faculty and community preceptors. This is what our students are looking forward to—earlier patient interaction—learning to be a doctor. Required core clerkships will begin in the spring of the students’ second year. The accelerated schedule opens more elective opportunities for students to focus on career and residency preparation. This curriculum was created with our students in mind—and I’m looking forward to hearing their feedback.
The educational leadership, including Drs. Patricia Butler, Philip Orlander, Len Cleary, Phillip Carpenter, and Eugene Toy, are already in regular communication with the student leadership to ensure a successful transition to the revised curriculum. There is a regular evaluation schedule so that the students have ample opportunity to provide feedback. Teaching faculty meet weekly to review the preceding week of instruction and to identify areas for improvement.
Our first-year students are embarking upon their own traditions as our first McGovern Medical School class to be part of the new curriculum. This class is also the first to take part in our new wellness and resiliency program, which features our McGovern Societies, again small group learning in action. In line with tradition, they have had the opportunity to experience our wonderful White Coat Ceremony and Student Retreat – the school’s 40th this year.
And what does our MS1 class “look” like? It is comprised of 227 Texas residents and 13 out-of-state students; 114 are male and 126 female. The oldest member of the class is 36, and the youngest is 20. Our students represent 74 different undergraduate institutions and include 5 MD/PhD students.
As a sweet welcome back to school to all of our students and staff, I hope you will join me for an ice cream social from noon – 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 15 in the Leather Lounge. We’ll have all sorts of frozen treats and toppings. Hope to see you there!