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Med School changes curriculum and calendar



Christopher Bennett / Herald Drawing from his recently published book “A Culture of Corruption”, Assistant Professor of Anthropology Daniel Smith discussed Nigerian e-mail scams Tuesday afternoon as part of the Illicit Flows Speaker Series.








Simmons to receive Women of Power award President Ruth Simmons will be honored tonight at the Women of Power Legacy Awards, a ceremony held by Black Enterprise to recognize African-American women that the business and media group considers trailblazers in their respective fields. The award ceremony is a kickoff to the company’s second annual Women of Power Summit, a leadership conference for women of color being held in Phoenix this week. Also receiving awards are entertainment executive Suzanne de Passe, dancer and choreographer Judith Jamison and Faye Wattleton, the president of the Center for the Advancement of Women. Black Enterprise created the award ceremony in 2006 to “recognize women whose power, influence and achievements have left a legacy of success for women of color in every career field,” a company press release stated. Black Enterprise prints a magazine of the same name, produces radio and television programming and serves as a “source of information for and about African-American business markets and leaders,” according to the press release. — Michael Skocpol

The Alpert Medical School’s new name isn’t the only major change the school has undergone this year — medical students in the class of 2010 are the first to experience an entirely redesigned first-year curriculum, and they are now subject to a new academic year that has been extended by more than a month. The curriculum change is part of an attempt to better prepare Brown med students for step one of the National Board of Medical Examiners Licensing Exam. The office of Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences Eli Adashi designed the new curriculum in collaboration with faculty and students with consideration to the coverage of basic science material on the board exam in the Med School’s existing first- and second-year curriculum. “There was some overlap, redundancy and some holes,” said Agnes Kane, professor of medical science. Previously, first years took several courses, such as biochemistry, pathology, neuroscience, immunology and microbiology, scheduled in much the same way as the undergraduate course load, said Philip Gruppuso, associate dean of medicine for medical education. Last semester, the class of 2010 took only one course in addition to the doctoring program, BI 364: “Integrated Medical Sciences I.” The course integrated the basic science curriculum with anatomy, histology and general pathology, adapting the systems-based approach already in place in the second-year Med School curriculum. The course met three hours per day from

Monday to Friday, with labs most afternoons, and students had six integrated exams throughout the semester instead of a traditional final examination schedule, said Kartik Venkatesh ’06 MD’10. The IMS course continues with BI 365: “Integrated Medical Sciences II” in the spring semester, covering brain science, endocrine science and microbiology and infectious diseases. Under the doctoring program, which was introduced with the class of 2009, first- and second-year students visit local family practitioners every week to gain practical experience in clinical medicine. For the class of 2010, the curriculum for the doctoring program has been aligned with the schedule for the IMS course. For example, the brain science unit of IMS II is complemented by a lesson in the doctoring program on how to do a basic neurological exam, Venkatesh said. Each unit of IMS — for example, a six-day immunology unit — is either taught by a variety of professors or is team-taught by multiple instructors. Professors include College Hill-based faculty as well as those who are usually located in hospitals or labs, Venkatesh said. As a result of the curriculum change, most of the basic sciences are now completed in the first semester instead of the first year, Gruppuso said. The Med School re-organized the curriculum to ensure that all material required for step one of the national board exam, taken after the second year of medical school, is covered logically and without overlap, Kane said. She noted that the new curriculum should give students time at the end of their second year to study for the

exam and begin their clinical clerkships earlier. “There was a lot of buy-in from faculty,” Gruppuso said of the changes. “I would call it curricular evolution,” Kane said. “Some classes were radically changed and re-organized.” Because the anatomy course, which involves dissection of a cadaver, must be completed in one year, the administration designed the rest of the curriculum around the anatomy schedule. The anatomy component was already well-regarded by students and faculty and was not changed much in the reorganization, Gruppuso said. “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it,” he said. Also this year, the Med School academic year deviated from the undergraduate calendar for the first time. Last fall, classes began Aug. 24, and the spring semester will end on June 8, allowing med students a much shorter summer break. Winter break was also shortened, with classes beginning on Jan. 7. Gruppuso said more changes lie ahead for the Med School curriculum. “We’re ultimately going to redesign all four years,” he said. “We’re having the changes march forward with the class of 2010.” “Medical education has been evolving in this country since the end of the 19th century,” Kane said. “Brown is a relatively young medical school. It’s still very much evolving, and the faculty is relatively young.” Most students like the integration, according to Venkatesh. The changes to the curriculum are “not new from a national standpoint,” but rather, they are “in line with what other medical schools have been doing for 20 years,” Venkatesh said. “We’re playing catch-up.”

Wednesday, February 7, 2007  
Wednesday, February 7, 2007  

The February 7, 2007 issue of the Brown Daily Herald