For over sixty years, faculty members from the department of behavioral science have been central to the College of Medicine’s educational mission. Cross-disciplinary behavioral science faculty co-precept 25 small groups in the first year medical student course, Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM). Across three medical campuses, ICM focuses on active learning approaches including training in communication and clinical interview skills, small group discussion on social medicine topics, experiential learning in clinical settings, and reflective practice.
In 2021, the Behavioral Science DEI Council created a White Coats for Black Lives Fellowship for second and third medical students. Students apply for the fellowship in their first year of medical school. Over a period of 18 months (from August/September thru December of the following year) each fellow will work with an identified faculty member in the department of behavioral science in the College of Medicine to develop a clear, achievable project that addresses the health of Black Americans. The proposed project can be a research project (clinical or basic science), a community-engaged project, or other project of significance to the health of Black Americans. Additionally students will take MD 825: “Race, Racism and Health Disparities among Blacks in the U.S."
Finally, faculty are available to mentor medical students on research projects ranging from laboratory experiments to epidemiological studies to qualitative investigations.
Often in medical education, we emphasize dissecting the human body into systems. However, people are not systems. As clinicians we are tasked with caring for a whole person. ICM creates space for future physicians to practice and harness empathy, cultural humility, and communication. These essential skills help to build a foundation for a generation of humanist care takers.