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Internship 101 prepares students for intern year, residency experiences

by Cindy Abole
Public Relations
As fourth-year medical students complete final clinical rotations of spring semester and await the results of their residency matches, some also will prepare themselves  to become lifelong learners and teachers, as well as interns of medicine.
Internship 101 is a new elective program jointly established by medical students and College of Medicine (COM) faculty to enhance learning and supplement the medical school’s fourth-year curriculum with practical credit courses. These courses address other areas of medicine categorized under business, clinical and professional education.
This pilot concept is similar to other mandatory “capstone” educational weekends or monthly events organized at other medical schools. It is designed to involve fourth-year medical students, faculty and instructors in an interdisciplinary approach to active learning.
“Internship 101 will provide a solid teaching and learning plan for students in an active learning environment,” said Zeke Walton, a fourth-year medical student and one of the program originators. “It offers something we, as medical students, are always looking for —the opportunity to interact and engage with others.”
Internship 101 was developed in the continuing medical education (CME) style that offers participants session choices in two course periods between March and April.
Students can choose from more than 45 sessions in a variety of categories, including courses on managing student loans and personal debt (business/financial), an interprofessional skills simulation workshop (clinical), and  surviving  surgery internship (professional education) courses.
Each course is conducted during a two-week period. Students receive 2.5 credit hours for each elective course, along with a requirement to complete 30 hours of classroom instruction. If students elect to participate in both course periods, they must complete 60 hours of classroom instruction to receive five credit hours.
Walton, along with fellow fourth-year COM students, Robert Shapiro and Lewis Cooper, came up with the concept. They wanted it to be a way to supplement curricula that corresponds to real-life experiences and responsibilities, which medical school graduates are expected to gain in their internship and residency years.
“We felt some things were still missing in the medical school curriculum that we felt would help us prepare for our internship year and specific residencies,” Walton said, COM Class of 2008 student body president. “We asked ourselves questions like: what other skills and knowledge is expected of fourth-year medical students? What would professors and residency coordinators want us to know?”
The trio approached Jeff Wong, M.D., senior associate dean for medical education, last summer with the idea. The group formed an Internship 101 working committee headed by Jerry Ondo, Ph.D., professor emeritus, Department of Neurosciences, and Elisha Brownfield, M.D., associate professor, Department of General Internal Medicine. Both previously collaborated as co-instructors with the successful third-year clinical medicine course, which emphasized a strong basic science foundation with clinical experiences. By fall, Barbara Bozarth, director of Clinical Coordination and Medical Student Career Advancement, joined the team as program manager.
“The medical faculty and staff have always prided themselves on listening to, and getting feedback from, our students,” said Wong, who along with other faculty, already was looking at fourth-year curriculum reform. “Our faculty and staff know what it takes for our students to become effective physicians. We want to create courses and curricula that correspond to learning objectives that will help our students be successful at every stage of their medical education.”
To recruit faculty as instructors or session coordinators, organizers offered a call for submissions from faculty and instructors to submit their session ideas and work reflecting their medical and professional expertise—similar to what’s done in planning an academic CME meeting. It’s also an opportunity for experts to showcase their clinical and academic accomplishments, and create a product that can be shared within their field or serve as a stepping stone for further development of a specific teaching curriculum,  Wong said. Residency program directors and coordinators also were invited to provide input in course development.
“We try to do things that will be mutually beneficial for students and teachers,” Wong said. “It should be a win-win for everyone involved. We’re looking forward to this project with tremendous anticipation.”
According to Walton, one of the biggest hurdles was putting a big concept into a small timeframe. Walton and members of the planning committee managed to crunch more than a year’s worth of planning into an eight month timeframe, of which five months was devoted to course development. The goal was to offer the program to students in spring 2008. So far, student recruitment has been conducted through student e-mails and word-of-mouth.
“We’ve assembled a great group of people to teach these courses,” said Bozarth. “We hope it will be one of the best clinical experiences for these students.”
Internship 101 primarily is open to fourth-year medical students. Although some sessions have a limited capacity, other sessions may accommodate larger classes.

Students can register online at (search under “important fourth-year information—Internship 101”).

Friday, Feb. 15, 2008
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