Many medical-school graduates recall their first two years as a series of long days spent in the classroom and evenings and weekends spent poring through textbooks. Clinical training experiences were reserved for the third and fourth years.
The articles in this issue of UW Medicine describe the many ways education has changed. In our new curriculum, introduced in fall 2015, medical students begin learning clinical skills and patient-centered care on day one. The first two years of medical school classes have been reduced to 18 months, and during the classroom training, students also receive ongoing, intensive clinical training and patient contact — often in the practices of physicians throughout the five-state WWAMI region.
Other major changes have also been successfully introduced. Classroom time is reduced to half-days, four days a week, and the lecture approach to education has been changed to an active-learning approach. This approach prepares students for lifelong learning — essential in today’s era of rapid medical and technological advances. Not least, the courses — blocked into concentrated periods of time — correlate basic science with clinical medicine while weaving in vital issues such as diversity and population health.
Many medical schools nationwide are undergoing similar transformations. However, our school is unique in the geographic reach of transformation. Faculty, staff and students in our partner universities across five states are working together in a wonderful, orchestrated collaboration to build, teach and refine the new curriculum.
With that, I would like to welcome the newest academic partner in this collaboration: Gonzaga University, which officially became part of our WWAMI educational program in late February. Working with Gonzaga in our new curriculum, we look forward to continuing WWAMI’s long history of educating doctors in and for eastern Washington.
The success of the WWAMI program is testament to the remarkable talent of the members of our five-state community. Thank you all for your leadership, your time, your hard work and your commitment to the medical professions.
Paul G. Ramsey, M.D.
CEO, UW Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and
Dean of the School of Medicine,
University of Washington