Perspectives

Medical School Curriculum is Revolutionized to Keep Pace with Today’s Living


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Since 2014, the faculty and staff of the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine have been developing a new medical school curriculum called the “Pathways to Health and Wellness Curriculum.” Its design is revolutionary and may lead the way for other medical schools to follow.
Come August, gone will be the big auditorium lectures. Instead, greater emphasis will be placed on individual and independent studies through the use of a “flipped classroom approach.”
“Students will learn interactively through working collaboratively on 16 weeklong patient cases per semester. Students will work in teams along with appropriate faculty,” says Dr. Kenneth Johnson, the executive dean of the Heritage College and the chief medical affairs officer for Ohio University.
Students will prepare for classroom learning sessions through self-directed study including access to recorded mini-lecture and modules,” explains Dr. Jody Gerome, the new associate dean of curriculum.
“The different aspects of medicine, clinical, biomedical, and social, are woven naturally into patient cases, rather than taught as separate academic silos,” Dr. Gerome adds.
Likewise, the program will examine the students’ knowledge more often than the formerly once-a-semester exam. Tests will be given more frequently to make sure the student is keeping up and absorbing the material that is required.
During each semester, students and faculty both will have “protected time” for maintaining their own personal wellness and each student will be assigned a faculty mentor for all four years of study. The health and wellness of the patients and the physicians both are in balance under this new plan, says Dr. Johnson.
“The first two years of study will be divided into four 16 week semesters covering wellness, acute illness, chronic illness and return to wellness,” says Dr. Gerome.
“The changes we are making are designed to convey training in a way that is more aligned with today’s evolving best practices in care delivery, to improve the care provided to our patients and communities and for formalize our commitment to the personal wellness of our students during medical school and beyond,” Dr. Johnson explains.
“Health care has to change, and the college needs to adapt its curriculum so it can continue to train doctors who can not only thrive in the changing health care environment, but help lead that changes to improve the quality of care to our patients and communities.”
Dr. Johnson has been dean of the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine since 2012. Dr. Gerome is a 2005 alumna of the college. She is a practicing physician and an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology.