Reforming Medical Education

Pre-med education is fundamentally flawed. This is something that the Medical Education community has known and written about for decades but has never acted upon. There are three critical problems:

  • 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.

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Ultraportable Ultrasound Introduced to Medical Education Curriculum

Ultraportable Ultrasound Device made available to Icahn School of Medicine students and trainees

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.

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