On Tuesday night, the pre-General Assembly IFMSA/AMSA conference kicked off in the 13th floor auditorium in Annenberg at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Icahn’s American Medical Students Association (AMSA) chapter is excited to host this year’s pre-General Assembly Conference focusing on global health and advocacy. One hundred medical students from around the world managed to arrive today and listen to organizers Dan Knights, Felicity Jones, Mike Eliasz, Riju Banerjee, and Susanna O’Kula announce the week’s schedule and welcome the delegates to New York.
- Pre-med science requirements were established almost 100 years ago and have not changed since then despite extraordinary advances in clinical medicine and biomedical science.
- These requirements consume an enormous amount of time and energy, detracting severely from what should be an enriching, stimulating college education.
- The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is an expensive (between the tests fees and pre courses), time-consuming hurdle that perpetuates the need to focus on memorization of facts and competition for grades.
More than 100 years ago, Abraham Flexner reformed medical education throughout the nation. He was considered visionary and is responsible for establishing what we currently consider to be the gold standard for how medicine is taught, both in medical school and in preparing for medical school. Since then, medicine and science have changed more rapidly than any other field, with the possible exception of information technology. Yet educators at both the college and medical school levels have failed to refresh his vision and align the physician training with society’s needs. We’ve also perpetuated the notion that everyone has to be taught the same requirements in lockstep, with little room for flexible, individualized, and self-directed learning.
As a first-year neurosurgery resident at Mount Sinai, I am continuously reminded of the seamless integration of innovative surgical technology and its ability to positively affect the outcomes of our patients. In fact, when I was a medical student at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, I remember being fascinated by the “high-tech” feel of a neurosurgical operating room. Everything, from the microscope, to the cranial and spinal navigation systems seemed like something straight out of a science fiction movie. I realized that neurosurgery was a rapidly evolving field that was fueled by cutting-edge technology. It is one the reasons why I ultimately decided to join the ranks of the neurosurgeons I always idealized as a medical student. With this in mind, I am excited for the opportunity to describe my experiences with the launch our neurosurgery department’s NeuroTouch Simulation Project.
To provide a bit of background, in 2009, the National Research Council of Canada introduced the NeuroTouch, a one-of-a-kind physics-based virtual simulator for cranial micro-neurosurgery training. The development of similar virtual reality simulation devices within the past decade has enabled residents to practice basic surgical procedures in a risk-free environment. These devices have progressively increased in sophistication, playing an increasingly important role in the education and training of new surgeons. In September 2012, The Department of Neurosurgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center became the first in the United States to purchase the NeuroTouch Simulator.
This article was written by Alexa Mieses, a first-year medical student, and first published in The Rossi: Medical Student Quarterly Report.
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is known for innovation within the realms of patient care, research, and medical education. Training future physicians requires a commitment to progress, and the newest addition to the medical school’s curriculum is no exception: In the spring of 2013, handheld ultrasound will be introduced to enhance students’ and trainees’ clinical skills and generation of a differential diagnosis by reinforcing anatomic and physiologic principles.
Unlike traditional ultrasound, bedside ultrasound is performed at the point of care, not in an imaging suite. Handheld ultrasound – an even more recent technology – is small enough to fit in the palm of a hand, with a screen roughly the size of a smart phone. Compared to traditional ultrasound, these devices are more portable and less expensive, although the quality of image may be compromised.
Jillian Shapiro, 25, a third-year graduate student at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, recently was named to the Forbes second annual “30 Under 30” list of young people who have made significant contributions to their respective fields.
Ms. Shapiro’s discovery of a microRNA pathway that could someday advance treatments for multiple diseases led to her recognition by Forbes, in the January 21, 2013 issue. But, she says, her most important lesson as a researcher was learning that, “You can never just rule something out. You have to take a leap of faith and investigate first.”
In the increasingly complex world of medicine where clinical knowledge is estimated to double every 18 months, four Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai students recognized that their education was missing an important component. Salina Bakshi, Marie Hennelly, Andrea Jakubowski and Aisha James took a critical look at the medical school curriculum and realized that while anatomy trains future surgeons and child development trains future pediatricians, there was no designated course discussing important issues in social justice. Thus, in 2011, the midst of their busy first year schedule, they started the Human Rights and Social Justice Scholars Program (HRSJ), a comprehensive one-year track giving students the tools, resources and mentorship to pursue the diverse aspects of health equity and social justice.
I met Salina, Marie, Andrea and Aisha in the student lounge during the week before they would begin their third year clerkships. Given their tremendous accomplishment, I was expecting a rambunctious group, eagerly speaking and interrupting each other. Instead, I was met by a group which exuded quiet confidence and intelligence. They spokethoughtfully and precisely – each contributing their unique expertise and experiences.
Dr. Katherine Chen is an Associate Professor and Vice Chair of Education for the Obstetrics/Gynecology Department at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai . She also directs the third year medical student six-week Obstetrics/Gynecology clerkship. Recognized for her excellence in teaching through various awards at Harvard Medical School and Columbia University, her most recent honor in 2012 is the Mount Sinai Institute of Medical Education Excellence in Teaching award. She was also a faculty member AOA inductee in 2010.
The Rossi editor-in-chief had a chance to sit down with Dr. Chen and discuss her philosophies on teaching, as well as her life as a physician, mother and book enthusiast.
Q: What attracted you to Mount Sinai?
I came here specifically for an administrative position in education. Prior to that, I was at Columbia University on an NIH grant, primarily doing research – 75% research, 25% clinical. Then I had a midlife crisis and decided I wanted to focus more on education. I’m very grateful to my chair Dr. Brodman for offering me the position and for supporting me in my endeavors.
Q: What was this midlife crisis?
I always knew I had a knack for teaching, even while I was a resident. But at that time, I had gotten advice that to advance in the academic world, you needed to be a clinical expert with productive research activities. So I went down that path first. I spent several years focusing on Obstetric Infectious Diseases, gathering clinical research skills, and performing studies. When I turned 40, I realized that the projects I enjoyed most were the ones I did with students and residents. I couldn’t get away from teaching.
In medicine, as with other fields, developing effective leaders and educators is essential to our profession. Teaching is a vital role of all physicians, and good teaching directly improves patient care. Similar to other aspects of medical practice, becoming an effective teacher requires training and experience. An increasing number of medical students, residents, and practicing physicians are seeking advanced training in education to provide them with a conceptual and scholarly foundation for their educational responsibilities, and to enhance their leadership potential and increase their effectiveness in their profession.
Mount Sinai’s Institute for Medical Education (IME) serves the vital need for creating, educating, mentoring and retaining the best educators for our students, residents and faculty. Fostering the success of our educators includes recognizing and rewarding those who display dedication and excellence in their work, and providing programs that develop and reinforce their scholarship, teaching skills and successful promotion.
Kenneth L. Davis, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Mount Sinai Medical Center, and Peter W. May, Chairman of the Boards of Trustees, The Mount Sinai Medical Center, have announced that in early 2013, Mount Sinai School of Medicine will be renamed in honor of Trustee Carl C. Icahn, who has generously supported this institution for more than three decades.
The new name—the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai—was bestowed by the Boards of Trustees in recognition of Mr. Icahn’s many years of dedicated service, his leadership in advancing medical science, and his nearly $200 million in lifetime giving to Mount Sinai. Mr. Icahn’s most recent gift of $150 million is the largest in Mount Sinai’s history and among the biggest gifts made to a medical school. His previous contributions to Mount Sinai resulted in a state-of-the-art medical school research building on the Mount Sinai campus being named the Icahn Medical Institute.
Exploring successful models of innovation— in and out of traditional biomedical research organizations—will be the focus of a three-day conference hosted by The Mount Sinai Medical Center.
The conference, SINAInnovations, to be held Monday through Wednesday, November 12-14, will feature prominent speakers from academia, the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, the investment community, and global media. It will highlight the most effective ways for academic medical centers to accelerate drug discovery and commercialize emerging biotechnologies, with the ultimate goal of creating better diagnostics and treatments that cure human diseases.