Friday, December 2, 2016

Office of Admissions Hosting Facebook Live Stream Discussion

The College of Human Medicine (CHM) Office of Admissions is hosting a Facebook Live stream on Wednesday, December 7th from 7pm-8pm (EST).

Representatives from the admissions office will be on hand to discuss the college and selection factors, while also offering admissions tips and a Q&A. Staff will answer questions directly from personal submissions.

Followers can submit questions any time prior to the stream via our Facebook page, Twitter page, or through email. Viewers tuning in during the event will be able to post additional questions and comments on the stream's comment section.

What is Facebook Live?
Facebook Live is a streaming service on the social media platform that allows users to broadcast live video to their news feed.

How can you participate?
Simply "Like" and follow our Facebook page. Send us your questions and tune in on Wednesday! Once the broadcast has ended, followers can view the recording on our page.

Interested in applying to the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine? Would you simply like to learn more about the nation's pioneer in community-based medical training? Join us for a closer look and find out what it takes to become a Spartan MD.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

AAMC Honors College of Human Medicine For Service Efforts Across Michigan

The Michigan State University College of Human Medicine (CHM) received the Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Service. The award was presented by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) on Nov. 13th in Seattle at their annual Learn Serve Lead meeting.

The AAMC honored the community-based medical school for outstanding contributions to medicine and community service. In particular, the AAMC acknowledged CHM's efforts to improve health in Flint as well as in rural communities across the state.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha—pediatrician and assistant professor—exposed lead poisoning in Flint
College of Human Medicine staff played an integral part in exposing toxic levels of lead in Flint’s water supply. Subsequent measures by CHM to aid local communities have also been carried out in maintaining the college’s public health–focused initiatives. Partnering with the Flint community also led way to the Pediatric Public Health Initiative, a collaboration with Hurley Children's Hospital.

Flint is also home to the Late Clinical Experience for students selected to the Leadership in Medicine for the Underserved Program.

In addition to the college's efforts in Flint over the last year, the school was also acknowledged for reinforcing collaboration in rural areas by way of the Rural Physician Program and the Rural Community Health Program. The initiatives aim to relieve rural physician shortages and provide enriched clinical experiences with community service opportunities unique to rural settings.

Students from the Leadership in Rural Medicine Program
The college has many diverse partnerships and has worked within communities throughout Michigan for decades, since its founding in 1964 as a national pioneer in community-based medical training.

To learn more, please see the official announcement

Friday, November 4, 2016

Student Post: Keeping Medical School Motivation

Approximately 60-80 hours per week.

That’s an average of how much time a medical student spends studying. I remember first hearing this at orientation and thinking there was no way that could be possible.

Now having one year of medical school under my belt, I learned how accurate that statement truly was. Between classes and clinical training sessions, the 60-80 hours a week flew by. I was trying to absorb all the new information and become the clinician I always wanted to be.

Moving from my first year into my second, I found myself hitting a wall when it came to school. Spending time reading about different drugs and diseases felt disconnected from the patient-physician experience. It was becoming harder and harder to get up early for a long day of studying.

With domain exams every 2-5 weeks and Step 1 on the horizon, I didn’t have time to waste. I needed to reignite the spark that first got me interested in medicine.

I found that getting involved with the community was one of my main motivators. Spending my time as a health educator gave me the opportunity to share the knowledge that I learned in school and also get to know the community better.

It was interesting to relate the health issues they face, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, to topics that we learned in class. It was more motivating to study knowing my knowledge could directly help others.

While connecting with the community re-energizes me, everyone finds their own way to cope with hitting a wall while studying.


Many students were enthusiastically involved with volunteering in undergrad, and they bring that same passion to medical school. Each break there are international service trips where students get clinical experience while exploring a new country.

Local involvement is also very popular. Below is a group photo of first and second year College of Human Medicine (CHM) students helping at an oral health fair in Flint. Other students work with kids in the community, such as through Big Brothers Big Sisters and Girls on the Run.

Professional Events

Learning more about your future profession is always a great motivator! There are opportunities to shadow local physicians or attend interest group meetings in order to discover more about a particular specialty.

Many students attend professional meetings to network and learn about other opportunities in the field. Below is a picture of students attending the American Medical Women’s Association Region 6 meeting.

It can be motivational to get a glimpse of what your future could be, and reminded of why you are working this hard.

Running Away from It All

Sometimes you need to run away…and some students are doing that in local marathons and half marathons!

Students frequently destress together through physical activity. Yoga, weight lifting, running, and bouldering are just a handful of the activities that students do together. Being able to clear your head can allow you to approach the material with a new outlook. It also helps to prevent burnout, and helps with retaining information.

Some CHM students recently completed the Detroit Half Marathon
In the end, every student finds their own way to reconnect and rekindle their internal motivation. Whether it’s being involved with the community or letting off some steam, it’s important to reconnect with yourself from time to time.

Even before medical school, you should find the activities that are important to you and make sure to prioritize them even when life gets crazy.

Anne Drolet is a second-year College of Human Medicine student from Clarkston, MI. Anne will be lending her voice as a student blogger to periodically offer tips on the admissions process as well as an inside look at the College of Human Medicine.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

3 Additional Details To Pay Attention To On Interview Day

The medical school application cycle follows a process that is made up of several different phases. Now that applicants are submitting secondary applications from individual schools, we've transitioned into the interview phase.

The medical school interview season for most medical schools across the nation generally runs from September to March, give or take. Now full steam ahead into interviews, each school has begun the process of hosting hundreds of applicants.

While this portion of the process is where colleges really get to gauge who they believe are the best fit for their school before making final decisions, applicants are also served an opportunity to get a better feel for where they will possibly train for the next four-plus years.

During interview season at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine (CHM), applicants do multiple mini interviews (MMI)​ with various people connected to the medical. Beyond the MMI, prospective students are also paired with current students for personal interviews as well as lunch, where applicants have time to be candid.

All in all, the interview day is a good time for the applicant to get some truly in-depth information that may not be readily available on a website or pamphlet.

It is generally expected of the host school to devote a portion of their interview day(s) to curriculum and how students are evaluated. Medical schools—and to a larger degree, medicine, overall—are currently undergoing some big changes.

The MCAT was updated just last year to reflect the changing philosophical landscape and many schools are updating their curricula to modernize their medical training.

Here at the College of Human Medicine, we've just implemented our Shared Discovery Curriculum, which is a radically different model of medical education in comparison with what's come to be traditional.

For instance, Shared Discovery does away with long lectures and evaluates students with our progress assessment suite. Small groups, feedback, and this more collaborative relationship with faculty/staff is a bit different than the traditional combination of class time and quizzes/exams.

While we think this new model of education is truly an innovative approach to medical school, we understand that this type of curriculum may not be for everyone. For others, the excitement is mutual.

Some questions to ask yourself include:
  • Does this curriculum fit my learning style?
  • Does this curriculum lend itself to my ultimate goals?
  • How does this curriculum prepare students for residency? 

Don't hesitate to ask school representatives about certain aspects of the curriculum that interest or concern you. Curriculum and evaluation are good topics to discuss.

This one may be obvious but it's worth diving into a bit. Each school has their own identity and ambitions so the environment for students can certainly vary from school to school.

 Pay attention to how faculty/staff and student ambassadors represent the college. Interview day(s) will give applicants the opportunity to speak face-to-face with representatives about what they enjoy most about the school and what the future holds for their program.

It would also be a good idea to watch how the faculty and staff interact with the students. Moreover, recognize how the students interact with each other. Some schools may be a bit more relaxed in nature. A discussion with students may give applicants a better idea of how collaborative—and/or competitive—the student body is at that school.

The College of Human Medicine encourages a cooperative and collaborative environment, but we also provide individual attention. It's important for applicants to understand how students are supported, especially when confronted with the more grueling portions of medical training. 

How schools emphasize health and wellness should be something to consider, so ask how students support each other and recognize how schools ensure a comfortable, helpful environment.

The CHM Office of Student Affairs and Services, for instance, has an Assistant Dean for Student Wellness and Engagement who is also the Director of Student Counseling. Learn what programs, mentorships, and tools are utilized to ensure this is a place where students can thrive.

Some schools also have a variety of student groups and organizations. Reach out to identify how students interact and study. Continuing the discussion with students, feel free to ask about community setting and student life.

The first thing an applicant will notice about a school is naturally its physical surroundings. Is this somewhere you can see yourself living for the next 2-4 years?

Using the College of Human Medicine as an example again, each entering class is split up between two locations for the first two years—Grand Rapids and East Lansing. While Grand Rapids serves as the second largest metropolitan-area in the state, East Lansing is very much a Big Ten college town.

All accepted applicants will receive the same resources and training regardless of location, but the external resources at each site differ a bit. From there, students can have the option of heading out into one of seven different community campuses. This is one of the benefits of training at a community-based medical school. 

Some medical schools, however, may only have one, main location. And that may be perfect for you. Think about what options are afforded to matriculating students and what types of areas you would like to live in for the foreseeable future. Does the school you are interviewing at fit those criteria?

Take yourself into account and think about your hobbies. Ask students what they do in their spare time and what is available to them. Consider affordability and commute. Consider how active life is around the school.

There are number of factors that applicants should take into account on interview day. As much as schools want to learn more about you as an applicant, students need to learn more about the school as well.

Indeed, it's all about fit on both ends.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Rural Community Health Program Expands Footprint With Launch In Ludington

The Michigan State University College of Human Medicine (CHM) has announced a new Rural Community Health Program (R-CHP) partnership with Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital. Ludington, on the northwest coast of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, becomes the sixth Rural Community Health Program site.

Partnered with hospitals across northern and mid-Michigan, the program is designed to provide students with enriched clinical experiences, rural public health leadership opportunities, and small town lifestyle experiences that will encourage alumni to establish practices in Michigan's rural communities.

Rural communities participating in the R-CHP program have been selected based on exemplary educational and clinical opportunities within each community.

Once selected for the Rural Community Health Program, MSU’s medical students will spend up to six months at the hospital learning clinical skills and gaining experience with the varied roles of a rural physician.

“We have two medical students in the Rural Community Health Program here at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital and they are already connected to the community,” said program director and College of Human Medicine associate professor, Andrea Wendling.

“We are hopeful this program shapes rewarding careers in rural medicine for these future physicians.”

Beyond her duties at CHM, Dr. Wendling is also a rural family physician of her own and understands that the nation's shortage of physicians extends to rural areas. In fact, she noted the misdistribution of rural physicians has been documented for over 90 years in "Rural Matters," a journal she penned for the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine.

The College of Human Medicine was founded as a response to the state's various medical needs, including those from its underserved rural populations. For much of our history, the college has been on a mission to train rural doctors.

Wendling notes in Rural Matters that "Students from rural backgrounds are significantly more likely to practice in rural areas, yet are consistently underrepresented in medical schools."

To meet the needs of Michigan's rural communities, the College of Human Medicine has implemented the Leadership in Rural Medicine Program (LRM), of which R-CHP is one of two respective tracks.

Ludington Harbor
“Helping to prepare and place new physicians in small rural communities is critical to ensuring quality health care throughout our system and the entire state,” said Ludington internist Mary O’Callaghan, division chief, NW region for the Spectrum Health Medical Group.

“We’re fortunate to have these capable students rotate through our various medical practices to gain valuable experience and assist with the care of our patients.”

Read the official announcement here.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Evolution and Revolution: 5 Takeaways From the New Shared Discovery Curriculum

Much like our beginnings, the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine (CHM) is again rethinking and reshaping the medical school experience.  Change, in the best interest of our students and communities, has been a challenge CHM proudly embraces time and again.

In the early 1960s, reports had demonstrated the need for a medical school in Michigan focused specifically on serving the state's population through direct involvement in community health care.

That was the foundation for the College of Human Medicine to become the nation's pioneer community-based medical school in 1964. A formal philosophy of enabling clinical training within community hospitals materialized.

CHM also went on to develop "focal problems," a precursor of Problem-Based Learning (PBL). The college is the first to have a medical ethics unit as well as the first to offer a bio-psycho-social model of curriculum.

Since its creation, in fact, the college's curriculum has continued to evolve. The college has become nationally and internationally known as a leader in university-based, community-integrated medical education.

For some time now, CHM administrators focused on offering, once again, a different take on medical school curriculum. An innovative and more student-centered approach to medical training, the new curriculum is a response to advances in medical knowledge and new understandings about competency-based assessment.

Yet it isn't just why our curriculum is changing. Just as important is how the new curriculum will be implemented. Whether it's evolution or revolution, the Shared Discovery Curriculum (SDC) aims to change what is considered modern medical education.

The evolution can be the "why." The revolution can be the "how."

Over the last several years, we've spent a good deal of posts (like this one, this one, and this one) on this blog discussing some of the ways medicine is changing and thus, how the modern physician is evolving.

Continued advances in medical knowledge means an ever-changing landscape. Since new knowledge and skills are now required of students and residents, medical schools must also change and evolve.

It is with this focus on the future of medicine as well as the care of our students, patients, and communities that we introduce the Shared Discovery Curriculum.

This new model represents a radical departure from present educational models, emphasizing usefulness and experience as a framework for adult education.

Here are five of the main takeaways from this modern model of medical training:

For decades, medical schools across the country used a basic 2 + 2 model for medical education, wherein the study of medical sciences was separated from and followed by hands-on clinical clerkships.

Medical schools have come to realize that, while that model has worked in the past, the modern physician can be trained in more efficient and supportive ways.

The SDC is an integrated curriculum that unifies the necessary basic and disease sciences along with clinical experience throughout all four years of the educational program—progressively building upon previously learned material.

In the traditional model, it was possible for students to come first-hand in the clinic with topics that hadn't been discussed since the lecture they attended a year or two prior. Now, students will have the ability to see in the clinic what they are concurrently learning in the classroom. 

Introducing clinical exposure much sooner, the model now used in the SDC is broken up into three separate parts: Preparation for Early Clinical Experience/Early Clinical Experience (PECE/ECE), Middle Clinical Experience (MCE), and Late Clinical Experience (LCE).

The ECE places students in ambulatory settings with medical assistants, nurses, and physicians while the MCE also places students in inpatient environments. At this point, MCE students are with an Interprofessional team that includes residents and attending physicians as well as social workers, nutritionists, different therapists, and pharmacists among other health care members.

Better equipped for the last phase of education, the LCE places students in ambulatory and inpatient settings on disciplinary services where they are able to realistically prepare for the first day of residency training.

Between each clinical experience phase, there are what we call, Intersessions.

Intersessions are a series of focused topic study courses that provide students opportunities to focus on a number of areas outside the given topics of study up to that point.

While some portions of intersessions will be required by the curriculum, other portions allow students to refocus on areas of relative weakness, offer time to explore other areas of health (research, public health, etc.), and provide dedicated preparation time for USMLE exams.

There are three types of intersessions:
  • Core intersessions are those required by every student
  • Foundation intersessions help students enhance understanding and performance
  • Advanced intersessions focus on personal interests and individual strengths
Students work with their Learning Society Fellows to create a learning plan for specific intersessions, considering performance on the Progress Suite of Assessments (we'll get to that further down this post).

Collaboration is critical, which emphasizes the important role Learning Societies play in the new curriculum.

Students and educators are organized in the curriculum through the creation of four learning societies, which houses small scholar groups and are hub of coordination for our new academy model.

Beyond students, the learning societies are also made up of clinical faculty as well as basic and social scientists, which all play a part in delivering the curriculum's components.

These components include post-clinic debriefing, problem-based learning, student portfolio review, individual learning plan formulation/tracking, and other small group experiences.

Learning societies span the geographic campuses and medical student years in the curriculum, building on personal relationships between small groups of students and faculty, or Faculty Fellows.

This model promotes coaching as much as teaching and enables students to interact with educators in a variety of settings over multiple years.

On a regular basis, students will review their progress with educators via educational portfolios. Students and educators will be guided by these reviews, as they then can develop each student's individualized learning plans.

When forming the SDC, administrators identified ways in which the educator-student relationship can be revised for the benefit of successful outcomes. The learning societies, as a piece of the larger SDC puzzle, help modify the dynamics between "student" and "teacher" that have traditionally been the norm.

This longitudinal approach will help foster trusting relationships for students with each other and with faculty, providing a rich climate that promotes academic partnerships and ongoing mentoring.

Progress assessments, given at regular intervals, help track each student's achievement and fluency. Students take the Progress Suite of Assessments and move through the curriculum as they demonstrate competency.

The components of the Progress Assessment are aligned with our SCRIPT competencies, testing medical knowledge, skills, and real world behaviors. Yes, students have the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to integrate knowledge and skills during actual performance with standardized patients.

Student portfolios contain essays, reflections, scholarly products, different projects, and even videos. These are all reviewed by Learning Society Fellows at intervals to ensure students are progressing and excelling.

This ongoing review through multiple types of assessments assures that students and educators are on the same page. Awareness of each individual's strengths and weaknesses allows each collaboration to be guided towards areas of challenge and opportunity.

But students are not the only ones being reviewed. Students are given the ability to rate their educators, peers, health care team, and actual patients. This constant stream of data assures everyone knows how to improve.

Improvement, in an overall effort to achieve full potential, is a constant goal for students. A combination of progress testing and experience-based education fuels each individual's learning plan.

Such a collaborative model of education requires that participants have access to numerous schedules, content, and assessments. The Shared Discovery model of education needs data to be rapid, reliable, and responsive to each person's needs.

JustInTime Medicine (JIT) is a self-service online interface that carries out those functions by leveraging cloud-based technology, so that students and educators can have access on all internet enabled devices.

Modern times call for modern measures.

The user-friendly interface provides easy access to tools and data. JIT logs records and notes learner progress for thorough evaluation.

It may not be a surprise that much about Shared Discovery is customizing the experience for each student. JIT follows suit in that there is a customizable course for calculating the contribution that each assessment makes toward goals and overall progress.

Additionally, student performance can be reported through a number of different paradigms, including SCRIPT competencies, EPA's, milestones and other specific competency frameworks—a noteworthy feature of the system.

Each individual student may be at a different point in terms of ingesting the curriculum. JIT offers a visual as to where that point is and, just as important, where the student needs to go. Color-coded tables show a student's progress to date.

The system registry also allows "drill-down" functionality to view the details of each assessment. Referring back to the progress suite of assessments, this allows students and educators to know exactly what portions of the curriculum a student is obtaining well and those a student may look at for more support.

Again, this all falls in line with how the collaboration works. With students and educators self-aware of where each other is in terms of progress, they can work together to tackle those portions of the curriculum in which a student needs more guidance.

In summary, all of these five takeaways are naturally interconnected. The intent is to get the best out of blending learning with action.

Clinical experiences at the center of the curricular design mean immersing students in real clinical environments and providing an authentic trajectory of training.

The Shared Discovery Curriculum is the College of Human Medicine's response to advances in the medical landscape. New knowledge and skills are now required for students, residents and practicing physicians to enable them to contribute to those advances. At CHM, contributing is a responsibility we all happily share.

For more detailed information on the Shared Discovery Curriculum, please visit 

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on the curriculum and other admissions-related topics. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

New College of Human Medicine Prerequisite Models Offer A Variety of Pathway Options

It doesn't take a philosophy major to understand that change is constant. Some changes are serious and life-altering; others, not so much.

In the world of science, new discoveries and knowledge add foundational context from which the future of medicine must learn to incorporate and adapt.  Higher education communities have raised concerns about whether or not premedical curricula have kept up with these changes; what seemed to work yesterday may not be what works tomorrow.

Many medical experts agree that an undergraduate education should not be geared towards only getting students into medical school; instead, these years should be dedicated to creativity within an intellectually stimulating liberal arts education.

Congruent with this mindset is the concept that prerequisites (or for that matter any scripted course of undergraduate study) should not be so overwhelming that the applicant seems pressured to emphasize (major in) science in lieu of other academically rigorous disciplines, especially those within divisions of humanities and social sciences.

Approximately three years ago, the College of Human Medicine (CHM) put together a committee of premedical experts to review our legacy prerequisites.  One thing that came out of committee discussion is that there is no “one size fits all” in the world of preparatory premedical coursework that sufficiently meets the needs of all medical schools and its applicants.

Flexibility in the curriculum, though, did come forth as a key concept in trying to meet the many types of qualified applicants that exist in today’s changing world. This coincides with schools, including our own, taking a more holistic approach to reviewing applicants once they apply to medical school.

Starting with the 2016-17 application cycle, a new set of course prerequisite models will be implemented.

The New Prerequisites 

In order to meet the needs of as many applicants (both traditional and nontraditional) and undergraduate institutions, CHM embraced a flexible approach in providing various options (or pathways) to meeting premedical course requirements as follows:

OPTION A: MCAT-Influenced Preparation Model

This model follows a historically traditional pathway of prerequisites that should prepare students for both the MCAT exam and an entry-level undergraduate medical curriculum:

  • Biology with lab (1 year)
  • General Chemistry with lab (1 year)
  • Organic Chemistry with lab (1 year)
  • Introductory Physics with lab (1 year)
  • College Algebra or Statistics (1 semester)
  • Biochemistry (1 semester)
  • Social science coursework: Anthropology, Economics, History, Political Science, Psychology, or Sociology (1 semester)
  • Upper level (defined as 300-400 level, junior-senior level coursework, and coursework that maps as upper-level by MSU transfer criteria) Biological sciences (1 semester); examples include coursework in (but not limited to):
      • Anatomy
      • Advanced Cell Biology
      • Embryology
      • Genetics
      • Immunology
      • Microbiology
      • Molecular Biology
      • Neuroscience
      • Physiology
      • Zoology
A grade of C (2.0 on 4-point scale) or higher must be achieved in order to meet prerequisite standards.

OPTION B: End-point Coursework Model

This option describes what courses need to be taken, but not the path to achieve the end point. Undergraduate institutions work with their students to help decide acceptable pathways to these end-point courses that may include (but are not limited to) traditional course requirements, condensed courses, novel curriculums, AP credit, and online course work.  A number of strongly recommended, but not required, courses are included in this option.

Any applicant selecting this option must document the required end-point courses that have been taken/planned as well as the list of pathway courses taken/planned that led to that end-point.  Applicants will also indicate which courses in the recommended areas have been taken and which ones are planned.

The following courses are required:
  1. Biological sciences: 1 semester of upper-level Biology; see option A for examples    
  2. Biochemistry: 1 semester
  3. Introductory Physics: 2nd semester
A grade of C (2.0 on 4-point scale) or higher must be achieved in order to meet prerequisite standards.

Additional coursework in traditional liberal arts divisions (science, humanities, and social sciences) outside Biology, Chemistry, and Physics is strongly recommended by the Committee on Admissions. Examples include coursework in (but not limited to):

  • Anthropology
  • Art
  • Classics
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • English
  • Foreign Language
  • Math
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • Sociology
  • Theater

OPTION C: Course Competency Maps Model

Applicants eligible for this admissions criteria option are limited to those enrolled at institutions with departments that have constructed course-competency maps which have been submitted to the College of Human Medicine and approved by the Committee on Admissions.

The current model for this option is derived from premedical competencies described in the 2010 Howard Hughes Medical Institute -Association of American Medical Colleges report, Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians.

To qualify for admission, an applicant must complete any combination of courses whose combined content has been mapped by its faculty to cover the 37 learning objectives from this report, which emphasize the following eight entry-level medical student competencies (See pages 22-35 for a description of all 37 prematriculation learning objectives).

  • E1-Apply quantitative reasoning and appropriate mathematics to describe or explain phenomena in the natural world.
  • E2-Demonstrate understanding of the process of scientific inquiry, and explain how scientific knowledge is discovered and validated.
  • E3-Demonstrate knowledge of basic physical principles and their applications to the understanding of living systems.
  • E4-Demonstrate knowledge of basic principles of chemistry and some of their applications to the understanding of living systems.
  • E5-Demonstrate knowledge of how biomolecules contribute to the structure and function of cells.
  • E6-Apply understanding of principles of how molecular and cell assemblies, organs, and organisms develop structure and carry out function.
  • E7-Explain how organisms sense and control their internal environment and how they respond to external change.
  • E8-Demonstrate an understanding of how the organizing principle of evolution by natural selection explains the diversity of life on earth.
A grade of C (2.0 on 4-point scale) must be achieved in all courses being used to demonstrate competencies in order to meet prerequisite standards.

OPTION D: Novel Curricular Tracks Model

Applicants eligible for this admissions criteria option are limited to those enrolled at institutions that have devised novel premedical curricula that have been submitted to the College of Human Medicine and approved by the Committee on Admissions.

For institutions interested in developing novel curriculum for its students, it is strongly advised that the basis of this curriculum be grounded in the liberal arts divisions of science, social science, and humanities.  The institution should provide commentary that explains how this novel curriculum integrates learning objectives which they believe provide competencies for entry-level medical students.

A grade of C (2.0 on 4-point scale) must be achieved in the novel curriculum coursework in order to meet prerequisite standards.



If you are thinking about a future career in medicine, develop a good relationship with your academic and/or pre-health advisor at your school.  Share with them the content of this blog and our website as early in your undergraduate studies as possible such that together you can determine which of these prerequisite course options are available at your school and will best serve your intellectual needs and special interests. 

Joel Maurer, MD, FACOG, is Assistant Dean for Admissions in the College of Human Medicine and Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology at Michigan State University.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Letters of Evaluation: The Basics

Letters of evaluation are an important part of the ACMAS application and thus, the med school admissions process. Per the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), "A recommendation letter or letter of evaluation is a letter in which the author assesses the qualities, characteristics, and capabilities of the person being recommended/evaluated."

Admissions committees can learn a lot about an applicant beyond their metrics. Effective letters offer professional perspectives on an applicant's many diverse attributes and personal qualities. Truth is, the majority of medical school applicants from year to year have competitive grades and scores, so letters give insight into each individual's unique strengths and experiences.

In addition, letters of evaluation can highlight one's commitment to medicine through their service, research, and academic pursuits. Also helpful is the fact that other health professionals, academics, and/or mentors can vouch for those interests and capabilities.

So who are the people that you should consider to be your letter writers?
Think of who can best contribute to your application. The writers should be able to speak in depth about you, meaning someone who you've been engaged with for a consistent amount of time. In general, some ideas may include:

-Professors and other academic faculty (science and non-science)
-Research advisor
-Pre-med committees
-Employment Supervisors
-Volunteer Coordinators
-Health Professionals

There are certainly other possibilities but the key here is that they know you and your abilities well. The credentials of your writers are a factor, but should not take precedence over how well they can provide an accurate assessment of your suitability for medical school. Identify those who can best describe your strengths.

You'll need several writers.

Typically, medical schools will require a certain number of letters, which varies from school to school. The MSU College of Human Medicine (CHM) requires three letters with a maximum of five. Most schools will allow the same range, but some can allow up to six or more.

Along this line, schools may have additional guidelines to follow. For instance, the CHM Office of Admissions requests that one letter be from a basic science or medical science professor who can critically evaluate your academic potential, maturity, strengths and weaknesses, and the difficulty of coursework, if applicable. You can find more guidelines and information on our website's Letters of Evaluation page. There are also AAMC Letter of Evaluation guidelines that potential letter writers should review.

Potential traditional medical school applicants should start thinking about who can fill these roles towards your final year or two. Non-traditional applicants or those with extenuating circumstances who are prevented a letter from a basic science or medical science professor may be made an exception, if they can fulfill certain requirements and guidelines.

If you have taken time off between college and medical school, applicants to the MSU College of Human Medicine should also send a letter of evaluation from a person who can comment about experiences during that period.

Letters of evaluation must be submitted through the AMCAS Letters Service for all medical schools participating in the service. Instructions for submitting letters to AMCAS are provided within the AMCAS application. Unsolicited letters sent directly to CHM outside of the AMCAS Letters Service will not be reviewed and, instead, discarded. Once your letters are received by AMCAS, they will be sent to your designated schools.

There are three types of letters that can be submitted:
  • An individual letter is just that, written by and representing one author.
  • A committee letter can be provided by a pre-health committee or advisor to represent your undergraduate institution’s overall evaluation of you. Some schools have pre-health or pre-med committees, but others may not. With that said, some medical schools may require a committee letter from those applicants whose undergraduate institutions have a pre-health or pre-med committee.
  • A letter packet is a set of letters that can be compiled by several different options, including your institution or institution's career center.  In contrast to a committee letter, a letter packet does not include a single evaluative letter.

Something to note is that you should not add a separate entry for an individual letter if you have already included that letter within either a committee letter or packet. Also, committee letters and letter packets each count as one entry, though there will be separate notes from different sources.

Are you considering a dual-degree program? Applicants must submit letters as requested by these specific programs. Be sure to do your research.

There's a ton of additional information out there on letters, including this solid piece from Student Doctor Network. Brush up on how to acquire letter writers and be sure to pay attention to deadlines. On the other end, be courteous and give your letter writers a good amount of notice ahead of time. Obtaining solid letters requires time and planning.

Lastly, don't forget to thank your writers!

All in all, letters help fill in the gaps. Along with the personal statement, letters of evaluation can go a long way into making your application stand out.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Medical Partners in Public Health (MD-PH) Certificate Added to the Variety of CHM Special Programs

The MSU College of Human Medicine (CHM) hosts a number of special programs for students with a variety of ambitions. This fall, CHM will also give students the option to pursue a new certification.

The Medical Partners in Public Health Certificate is an option for College of Human Medicine students to gain clinical training in underserved community settings, with an emphasis on clinically relevant population level prevention and wellness.

Physician graduates of the MD-PH program will be able to apply public health principles as well as evidence and theory to better understand how to improve the health and well-being of their patients and the communities to which they belong.

This certificate complements the public health content in the CHM curriculum, enhancing the training with formal knowledge and skill in the core public health disciplines of epidemiology, biostatistics, health behavior and health education, public policy and administration and environmental health.

In addition to a formal blend of online, face-to-face, and community-based coursework, MD-PH students will also train through public health-focused community service and research. Experts in both public health and clinical medicine will train and advise program participants along the track.

Students who successfully finish the MD-PH certificate are eligible for credit towards a full MPH degree in MSU’s online program, should a continuation in public health training be desired.

 Please see our MD-PH page for more information and how to apply.

In addition to the MD-PH Certificate, CHM also offers three dual-degree options: the MD/PhD Program, the MD/MBA Program, and the full MD/MPH Program.

As the pioneer community-based medical school in the nation, the College of Human Medicine is embedded in communities across the state. Those pursuing public health disciplines at CHM have the benefit of community campuses and clinical sites serving an array of demographics.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Matched & Moving On: Graduating CHM Students Set For Residency Placements Across The Nation

It's graduation week for our seniors! But before the students put on their caps and gowns, the newest crop of Spartan M.D.'s are busy preparing for the next portion of their lives—residency.

The results of the 2016 residency match process are in for the MSU College of Human Medicine (CHM) graduating class. The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) reported results for CHM, which included early, advanced, and military matches.

As tradition, fourth-year students were joined by family and friends on "Match Day" across our community campuses to celebrate and learn where they matched.

The NRMP or, "The Match," places applicants for postgraduate medical training positions into residency programs at teaching hospitals throughout the United States.

The NRMP is a private, non-profit organization established at the request of medical students to provide an orderly and fair mechanism for matching the preferences of applicants for U.S. residency positions with the preferences of residency program directors.

Overall, 193 total graduating seniors sought residency positions. Of the 193, there were 187 students with residency placements confirmed through the NRMP, NRMP-SOAP, Military Match, Advanced Matches and Post SOAP.

Seeking residency positions in various specialties, 96.9% of CHM seniors secured placements—an increase from 96.2% in 2015.

Over 43% of the overall 2016 seniors are entering a primary care residency (i.e., Family Medicine, General Medicine, Medicine/Pediatrics, and Pediatrics).

The top seven overall specialty placements are as follows:
1. Pediatrics (30 graduates)
2. General Surgery (24 graduates)
3. Emergency Medicine (22 graduates)
4. Family Medicine (20 graduates)
5. Internal Medicine (20 graduates)
6. Obstetrics-Gynecology (14 graduates)
7. Internal Medicine/Pediatrics (11 graduates)

Anesthesiology, Dermatology, Neurology, Orthopedic Surgery, Psychiatry, and Pathology are also some of the specialties represented in the list of specialty choices.

Close to half (over 42%) will remain in Michigan for their residency training programs. This is an increase from last year as 36% of seniors remained in Michigan for residency in 2015. Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Royal Oak, Saginaw, and Flint are just some of the in-state areas that will be injected with new residents from CHM.

Students will also be training across the country at some of the most competitive residency programs in the nation. Graduates will also be headed across the nation from Rhode Island to California.

Beyond placing in major cities like Chicago, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Cleveland, New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle, Austin, New Orleans, Boston, San Diego, and Houston among others, students will also train in smaller metro and sometimes more rural areas as well. Spartan M.D.'s will also be headed to towns like Danville, PA; Hershey, PA; Lebanon, NH; Loma Linda, CA; Danbury, CT; Maywood, IL; Fort Gordon, GA; Charlottesville, VA; Rochester, MN; Falls Church, VA; and Peoria, IL.

Best wishes and good luck to the 2016 CHM graduates!