Associate Chair for Undergraduate Medical Education

The fourth year of medical school is a whirlwind, a time when students travel all over the country interviewing at the hospitals where they hope to do their residencies, and scatter to different clinical areas of our health system for rotations in the various sub-specialties.

In other words, it’s nearly impossible to get all 170 of our M4 students in the same place at the same time, except, of course, graduation. And that has made it hard to ensure that all of these students receive some of the final elements of the curriculum—including advanced training in the modern drugs, devices, and procedures.

Fortunately, the Internet has now made the impossible possible. Under the leadership of our department’s own Cary Engleberg, MD, DTM&H, the Medical School’s Office of Medical Education launched its first completely Internet-based course this year, called Advanced Medical Therapeutics.

After several years of pilot testing, the course became mandatory this year, and the response from students has been overwhelmingly positive. I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that this generation has grown up with the Internet, which made its debut when most of this year’s students were in middle school.

Now, fourth-year students can learn about medications while waiting in the airport, and test their knowledge of transfusion medicine, pharmacogenetics, and psychiatric intervention from their hotel rooms. With laptops and wireless Internet access, the world becomes their classroom, and they can progress at their own pace through the course material.

The course is not all reading and testing, either. One of my favorite features is a series of short videos that capture a clinical faculty member giving a “curbside consult.” This is a virtual version of the kind of clinical teaching that goes on in clinics and on hospital floors every day.

Of course, this is far from the first online-learning effort at the Medical School, but all other such programs have been linked to a classic in-person course. In those instances, the Internet is a helpful tool, a source of more information or a way to review material—but not the main channel for learning.

Using the Internet, this new course makes great use of the downtime that M4s experience, and even allows each of them to contribute to the course material by completing a required project on a specific therapeutic approach, and uploading it to the course’s website. Those projects become optional modules for future students, enhancing the online course even further.

As Internet technologies become an inextricable component of modern medicine—from electronic medical records to digital radiology to web-based continuing medical education—this type of class also helps students prepare for the world they will encounter in residency and practice.

Of course, it helps greatly that today’s students are arriving at medical school even better prepared than ever before, and that Michigan continues to attract ever-brighter and more talented prospective students. Their first two years are now overseen by our own Roger Grekin, MD, and I was fortunate this year to receive help in coordinating the medicine clerkship from Davoren Chick, MD, who joined the General Medicine faculty in September. Robert Sitrin, MD, continues to lead our effort in the M4 Sub-Internship program.

Together with Robert Lash, MD, and Arno Kumagai, MD, who head the Family Centered Experience, our department continues to play a central role in advancing medical students education. We look forward to further innovations in years to come.

Student Awards

For more than 30 years, the department has presented the William Dodd Robinson Award for Excellence in Internal Medicine in recognition of a graduating senior student’s superb academic performance in the junior medicine clerkship and senior electives in Internal Medicine. This year’s recipient, Jodi Zilinzki, exemplifies the highest standards and it is fitting that she should receive this prestigious award named for William Dodd Robinson, who was Chair of the department from 1958 to 1975.

This year, the department was very proud to award two Senior scholarships to medical students who epitomize outstanding academic excellence. This year’s recipients are Timothy Bodnar and Kristen Adams. These scholarships, funded by financial contributions from donors including the alumni and faculty of the Department of Internal Medicine, assist with the recipients’ last year of medical school tuition and allow them to pursue their careers in internal medicine with fewer financial constraints.

Bhakti Patel was awarded the Eli G. Rochelson Memorial Award. This award, given annually, is endowed and given by the faculty in the Pulmonary and Critical Care Division, to the graduating senior who best exemplifies excellence in Pulmonary and Critical Medicine.

Faculty and House Officer Teaching Awards

Thomas Sisson, MD, received the Galens Silver Shovel Award.

John P. Schmidt, MD, received the Senior Year Award once again in 2007 from the medical students, as the young clinical faculty member who has upheld the ideals of medical education.

The students awarded Bronze Beepers to Brian Garvin, MD, Amir Rabbani, MD, and Terry Platchek, MD, all for excellence in medical student education.

The Galens Medical Society presented a Gold Beeper to the best resident across all disciplines. We are delighted that the recipient of this beeper is Dr. Terry Platchek.

At the department level, Raj Mangrulkar, MD, received the Richard D. Judge Award for Excellence in Medical Student Teaching. Dr. Cary Engleberg, received the Special Recognition for Contributions to the Medical Student Teaching Program Award.

The following faculty received the Medical Student Award for Teaching Excellence from the first- and second-year medical students: David Miller, MD, PhD; Joel D. Howell, MD, PhD; Yeong Kwok, MD; Arvin Gill, MD; Peter Hagan, MD; Jennifer Reilly-Lukela, MD; Thomas Sisson, MD; D. Kim Turgeon, MD.

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