Pep Talk — August 2013
“Time flies when you are having fun” is a popular expression and it is hard to believe that 2013 is flying by. I have been negligent in communicating with you – my last Pep Talk was in January, so this edition is months overdue. I promise to get us back on schedule with our quarterly reports as this academic year begins.
The College of Medicine welcomed 120 students – our first class at full enrollment – during the White Coat Ceremony August 5. These individuals are among the 3,843 students who applied to enroll in this year’s class. They have an average MCAT score of 31, a GPA of 3.75 on a 4-point scale, and are graduates of institutions like Duke, Johns Hopkins, Brown, Dartmouth, Georgetown, Brigham Young, Vanderbilt, Oregon State, University of Florida, Florida State and UCF. Eleven of the incoming students have master’s degrees, one is a veteran of our nation’s armed forces, and 13 have published medical research before ever coming to medical school.
The class of 2017 is now finishing orientation this week and will begin classes – Cellular Function and Medical Genetics, Practice of Medicine 1, and Focused Inquiry and Research Experience (FIRE) – on August 12. Their graduation, in May 2017, will be here before we know.
There have been many headlines in what’s been a year of milestones at the college. To recap just a few of them: accreditation, match and graduation. In February we received full accreditation from the LCME. I want to thank those of you who prepared for and participated in November’s site team visit, and also express my gratitude for what all of you have done these past six years in support of the college and its educational program. You are truly amazing!
In March, the charter class participated in the medical school’s first national match (NRMP). On that day we learned that our first physician graduates would be doing their residency training at locations including Orlando Health, University of Florida, Mayo Clinic, Tufts, University of Washington and Brown University. Those graduates are now training in a variety of specialties, from primary care to neurosurgery. One Residency Program Director recently told a faculty member how one of our graduates is excelling in residency training – after only two months. The director explained that after our graduate received the schedules of incoming medical students, she “e-mailed me for the student e-mails so that she could send them a welcome note with some clerkship tips. She also saw the group of students outside of the OR on their tour and came out to introduce herself. We may have a teaching star!”
All of our affiliated and volunteer faculty members who participated in the training of these health leaders of tomorrow deserve thanks and commendation for the outstanding work you did in preparing them. The Charter Class had a 100 percent pass rate on the Step 2, Clinical Skills Examination, United States Medical Licensing Examination (Step 2 CS, USMLE) and had an above-the-national-average pass rate on the Step 2, CK (Clinical Knowledge), USMLE. They surpassed the national mean by nine points.
The charter class graduated May 17. Days later, the news announced that the College of Medicine’s first partnership residency program with the Orlando VA Medical Center and Osceola Regional Medical Center would begin in June 2014. The college will be offering medical school graduates residency training in internal medicine during the NRMP match in March 2014. This VA-Osceola partnership will provide residents with a variety of patient populations and an innovative schedule that makes efficient use of hospital and out-patient experiences. Ultimately, this partnership will increase the number of physicians in Central Florida. Given our state’s increasing population – and its growing number of medical school graduates — Orlando desperately needs additional residency programs. The College of Medicine is working diligently to collaborate with all of our hospital partners to create more university residencies that will attract more physicians to our community.
With your support, our students continue to excel in the classroom, the clinic and in the community. As first mentioned above, our students’ scores on national board exams have met or exceeded national averages. The class of 2014 met the national average of 227 in the Step 1 test with 97 percent passing on the first try, compared to a national average of 95 percent. The students in the Class of 2015 have finished taking the Step 1 with a 99 percent pass rate and a mean score that is eight points above the national mean from last year.
Additionally, our students are making a difference in their community – locally and abroad. They recently unveiled their free KNIGHTS (Keeping Neighbors In Good Health Through Service) Clinic at Orlando’s Grace Medical Home, which serves uninsured patients who live below 200 percent of the nation’s poverty line. About 50 M.D. students staff the clinic and handle all operational duties, take patient histories, conduct physical exams, determine diagnoses and provide treatment under the direct supervision of College of Medicine physicians. We hope to expand this experience by adding nursing and pharmacy students. The student free clinic is helping Grace Medical Home ease its waiting list. UCF’s medical students “have that passion for taking care of those in need,” explained Dr. Marvin Hardy, Grace’s medical director. “Now we can see more of the uninsured.”
Another group of UCF medical and nursing students recently returned from a medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic, where they provided care to hundreds of people in the poorest sections of that country. The students, with supervision from College of Medicine and College of Nursing faculty, also worked with an electronic health record system developed as part of a medical student’s FIRE project to track patient care between visits.
Our students are making a difference as they mature into tomorrow’s health leaders. They are making these contributions in the context of your partnership, dedication and service to your medical school. Thank you again for all your contributions to the educational program.