Why were there pigs’ feet on the third floor of the Alpert Medical School building? For the answer, read on! Last week more than 300 health care professional students in the building participated in an inter-professional team training workshop that is one component of AMS’s inaugural Clinical Skills Clerkship, a three-week non-specialty specific clerkship designed to prepare AMS students for their specialty clerkships that begin early next month. One hundred Alpert students from the MD Class of 2014 worked alongside 200 nursing students and pharmacy students from the University of Rhode Island. They were practicing team medicine, in which doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals provide integrated, expert care for patients…together.
Course leaders Julie Taylor, Paul George, and Dana Zink are building on previous sessions to expand and further develop team training curriculum at the medical school. It was great to see nurses in blue scrubs as well as medical and pharmacy students in their white coats interacting with our standardized patients in the Clinical Skills Suite. Outside the rooms I saw pigs’ feet! The medical students were practicing suturing pig feet lacerations in a session on trauma. Incidentally, we had ordered 400 pigs’ feet from a local butcher to provide tissue for the sessions.
This wonderful development in the nascent collaborations among health care professional training programs in Rhode Island was possible for two reasons. First, the new building provided the necessary space and facilities. Second, collaboration is increasing among all of the professional schools in Rhode Island. I predict that there will be much more integrated education between health schools in the future.
We value teaching at all levels in the Division. When I took over as Dean four years ago, I knew that we had a variety of teaching awards for faculty in the clinical departments and that they were an important way of recognizing teaching commitment and excellence. As a consequence we established four Dean’s Teaching Awards in the departments on the campus, two for faculty in the Program in Biology and two for the Public Health Program. The awards are made in recognition of the faculty in the Division who demonstrate a commitment to teaching that goes above and beyond the call of duty. The selection process includes a review of nominations by several rigorous committees. The winners are recognized at Brown University’s Annual Faculty Award Event in May. Each awardee receives an engraved piece of crystal and a check. This year’s winners are listed below:
Donald Jackson, PhD – Dean’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, Advising and Mentoring in the Biological Sciences
Susan Gerbi, PhD – Dean’s Award for Excellence in Graduate and Postdoctoral Teaching and Mentoring in the Biological Sciences
Don Operario, PhD – Dean’s Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching in Public Health
Amal Trivedi, MD – Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring in Public Health
Next month I will highlight our teaching awards for the Medical School.
A proposal has come before the Rhode Island Legislature to create a new for-profit osteopathic medical school in the state. One of the stated reasons is to provide primary care doctors for Rhode Island. I have sent a letter to key legislators stating my concerns about such a school. I will also meet with Governor Chafee and the President of the Rhode Island Senate, Senator Paiva-Weed, to outline some of the issues. I will point out that Alpert Medical School is rated highly for primary care and that many of our students (including several native Rhode Islanders) go into primary care. One of the principal problems with primary care in this country and in Rhode Island is that the reimbursement rate is quite low compared to other specialties. Additionally, reimbursement in Rhode Island compares unfavorably to Connecticut and Massachusetts. Our residents in training can move just 15 to 20 miles away to either of those states and make 15 percent more in revenues. That is where some set up their practices. Having said that, I want to work with the leaders in the state to help solve the issue of primary care physicians. I’ll describe some of the new initiatives that Alpert Medical School is undertaking in subsequent communications.
Two weeks ago I went to China with Julianne Ip, associate dean of medicine for the Program in Liberal Medical Education and International Programs, to visit medical schools affiliated with Brown: Zhejiang University in Hangzhou and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). Both offered fascinating insights into the changes in China and the rapidly evolving clinical, educational, and research aspects of these schools. The size and volumes of the hospitals are astounding. At the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University, there are almost 3000 inpatient beds and over 2 million outpatient visits per year. The research in some areas, such as infectious diseases, is growing rapidly with new resources and equipment. The leaders of the medical school are very interested in new and innovative approaches to medical education. We have a popular medical student exchange program with Zhejiang. The CUHK is more western, but also very interested in collaborative relationships. There are already research collaborations between their school and our program of public health.
On a final note, I recently visited the annual poster session for research by undergraduate seniors concentrating in the Biology program (Public Health had their session one week before). I spoke to one student, Zoe Weiss, a PLME student from Lincoln, RI, who studied the anthropology of Inuit Native Americans in Northwest Alaska in the 1700s. Her analysis included work with tools and bones from animals that served as a source of food. Among other things, she said that it prepared her for anatomy in medical school, which she starts in August. This is an area of particular interest to me and I was fascinated. There were many other excellent posters across a wide range of biology disciplines. I was impressed by the enthusiasm and achievements and once again reminded of the excellence of Brown students.