As we enter the busy holiday season, I wanted to reach out with the last Pep Talk of the year. During the past few weeks, all of you should have received from Dr. German the thank you card featuring original artwork from one of our M-3 students and the “UCF MED” pin. The pin idea came from several of you who said you wanted to wear something on your white coats to show your UCF COM affiliation. The Dean was so honored by that request that the pins were created, and we hope you will wear them in honor of all you do on behalf of our students. I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say we couldn’t do this important work without your expertise, support and dedication. The UCF MED pin is a token of the gratitude all of us feel for your partnership.
That partnership is really a theme for this edition of Pep Talk as we have a lot of exciting collaborative news to share. We just announced that beginning in fall 2015 the College of Medicine will offer a joint M.D.-Ph.D. program to train physician-scientists who want to care for patients while pursuing research that may lead to a cure for disease. The joint program will begin with the current first two years of the M.D. curriculum, followed by two to four years of intensive research training in the Ph.D. program, including writing and defending a dissertation. Subsequently, the student completes two years of clerkship and elective rotations at hospitals and clinics. In addition to a UCF M.D. degree, the graduate will earn a doctorate in biomedical sciences through the existing Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. Program at our Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences. This program will provide opportunities for students with a passion for research and clinical care, and it will provide more opportunities for interprofessional student education and team-based learning that are so important to patient care today.
Such opportunities were also the focus of an IPE event we held at the medical school last week for UCF M.D. and social work students and University of Florida pharmacy students. During the program, student teams learned and problem-solved together the challenges of providing medical care to the homeless – over 6,500 in Central Florida. By training our students to work together and appreciate the talents of other healthcare professionals, we will be enhancing the quality of patient care in the future. Another example of this collaboration among these healthcare students is the free KNIGHTS Clinic at Grace Medical Home. And last summer, UCF medical, nursing and engineering students and the UF pharmacy students traveled to the Dominican Republic on a medical mission trip. The interdisciplinary trip was led by Dr. Judy Simms-Cendan, director of Global Health and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, who is also leading our IPE efforts. That week in the Dominican Republic, 30 students set up clinics at four impoverished rural sites and saw nearly 600 patients. They came back with a renewed sense of service through teamwork. “It was excellent learning from the nursing students as far as triage and taking vitals, and from pharmacy with all the medications that are absolutely indispensable,” said fourth-year UCF M.D. student Erin Kane. “With engineering, it was fabulous to see their perspective. As we’re focusing on medical needs, the engineers were showing us how the infrastructure is directly affecting health in the community.”
As the academic year reaches its half-way point, our first-year students have just finished their mid-term exams in the Anatomy Lab, where they are learning with even more advanced technology. Thanks to collaboration between our faculty and the COM’s IT team, the lab was renovated for the Structure and Function module with technology that includes larger-than-life medical imaging of the heart, liver and kidney; new touch-screen HD monitors and the ability of faculty members to use their iPads to project a pathology from one table to everyone else in the class. .
The lab now contains a massive 80-inch touchscreen monitor in the center of the room that allows faculty and students to compare multiple anatomical images at the same time with stunning detail. With the technology, students can compare an actual human heart next to an actual CT scan, generously donated by one of our volunteer faculty, next to a digital drawing. By comparing the images, students can see a “textbook” heart and compare it to the heart of their cadaver, their first patient. Each of the 20 dissection stations still has a computer monitor overhead, but it’s now a touch screen device that offers the latest in high-definition images and a faster operating system. Students can save screen shots for their own study and for adding notes and can plug their iPads into the monitor to compare images and information. We’ll see the results of this newer, higher-tech learning when students present their autopsy reports for judging in February.
The third year class (Class of 2016) is completing third-year core clerkships at no less than eleven affiliated partners in addition to experiences in some physician offices. We appreciate each and every one of these partners for the training they provide each day for just one student up to 20 or more. This is truly teamwork at its best and provides our students with an outstanding perspective of the differences in practice settings. Next year we will be expanding the number of sites as the class will total 120, our ultimate class size.
So, as always, it’s a busy time at the UCF College of Medicine. That never seems to change. And neither does my gratitude for all that you do. Please enjoy a happy, safe and healthy holiday with your family and friends. We’ll talk soon in 2015. Pep
Go Knights! Charge on!