What is the Family Centered Experience ?

The Family Centered Experience (FCE) program is a required course in the University of Michigan Medical School curriculum. Through FCE, first- and second-year students engage in understanding the personal side of medicine through firsthand encounters with patients and their families.

Families who volunteer to participate in FCE open their lives and give our students invaluable training that cannot be duplicated in any classroom or clinic. In the role of mentor, volunteer families teach students how to see the patient as a whole person and how illness affects all aspects of their daily lives, beyond just the diagnosis of their disease. Our doctors-in-training apply what they learn from these mentors to their clinical training and beyond.

“By keeping the students in touch with why they went into medicine in the first place through the FCE, their approaches to patients are actually more human and more relevant.”

Arno K. Kumagai, M.D.
Director, Family Centered Experience
Associate Professor of Internal Medicine

How FCE Works

After you have been assigned to a pair of medical students, you will together decide when to meet. Generally, volunteer families meet with students in their homes for the visits. Over the next two years, you will meet about six times in total. In addition, the students will accompany you to one doctor's appointment to observe your interactions with your doctor from the patient's perspective.

In each visit, students will come prepared to ask different questions about your illness and how it has impacted the various aspects of your life and family. In between visits, students meet with their peers and faculty advisor in small group discussions to talk about their FCE families and what they have learned.