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Patient Centered Medicine

Course Description and Teaching Modalities

Patient Centered Medicine is a new course which began in August 2006.   This two-year experiential course is rich with opportunities to acquire the attitudes, skills and knowledge of a physician in today's world.   Students explore issues of humanism and professionalism, cultural and ethical sensitivity and the influence of one's own cultural and personal beliefs on the practice of medicine, as well as the importance of balance in one's personal and professional lives.   Through teaching scenarios with standardized patients and clinic visits, students learn examination techniques, verbal and non-verbal techniques in establishing rapport and a therapeutic alliance as well as how to construct a medical history and understand biopsychosocial and environmental context.   Students learn the difference between disease and illness and the role of family systems, community resources and an interdisciplinary approach to patient care.   They are immersed into the world of the doctor, through patient visits, service learning and community outreach.   Debriefing of the experiences occur in small group sessions as well as in reflections made in an on-line portfolio.

 The Kessler Teaching Labs/Clinical Skills Center is the on-site location for the course of large group clinic conferences, small group clinics, and standardized patient teaching sessions.   Small groups of students will be longitudinally mentored by a physician faculty member over the two years.   One half day a week students will don their white coats and participate in a cohesive clinic experience.   The participation of third year clerkship directors in this course and the longitudinal assessment of clinical skills and professional competencies of medical students will ensure the impact and lasting effects of Patient Centered Medicine on each student's development throughout the four years of the curriculum.


Teaching Modalities

Large Group Clinic Conferences:   The name of these sessions is not just a euphemism for lecture.   These large group conferences are multi-media, interactive, and thought-provoking.   Content such as history of ethics, medical economics, and life cycle issues are well suited to this forum.   Panel discussions such as groups of religious leaders and groups of health care economists are included.

Small Group clinic conferences:   The structure of these sessions is the preceptor leading a small group of students over the first two years of the curriculum.   These sessions will include case discussions as well as debriefing of the students' clinical encounters.

Standardized Patient Sessions:   Standardized patients are trained to portray individuals in psychosocial content.   They are also trained to provide feedback to the students, in concert with the faculty facilitators.   They are used for the physical diagnosis practice as well as for formal Objective Structured Clinical Evaluations.

Clinical Rounds:   Faculty facilitators make rounds in the Clinical Skills Center on standardized patients.   Students learn the art of interacting with patients and their colleagues while on teaching rounds.

Offsite visits:

Community Site Visits:   Students travel in groups to the community setting for experiences with geriatric facilities and facilities with individuals with developmental disabilities.

Physician Site Visits:   Students are placed at a clinical site and visit the office/clinic six times over the year.   The activities evolve from observation and reflection to taking rudimentary history and practicing examination skills.   “Write-ups” are done on the patient encounters.   The sites will vary from specialty to primary care.

Service Learning Visits:   All students have the opportunity to teach about health care in the community.   Following orientation sessions on teaching in the community, students will make four site visits.

Portfolio Dialogue:   On line journaling is an integral part of the course.   Students reflect about the year's activities and facilitators read the entries and make comments to the students.

Self-directed learning activities:   Students are given recommended readings in addition to required readings.   Students are encouraged to attend the film festivals held during the year.   Faculty mentorship is available as students select areas for more in depth study.