Background: Frontiers in Medical Science are one to two week full-time courses to be offered during the months of October, February, and March. These courses emphasize "translational medicine" with the purpose of providing a format and content through which advances in basic science can be taught in relation to their clinical application.
Students who earn a PhD, MPH, or MTR degree while in medical school need no frontiers courses since the degree fulfills the three-week requirement.
Students who earn a MBA, ML, MSCE, MSHP, or MSME degree while in medical school need two weeks of frontiers courses to fulfill requirements. Three weeks of frontiers are required of MD/MBE students and of all other students not earning a second degree.
Objectives: The goals of the Frontiers courses are: 1) to present the latest advances in biomedical science within the context of their relevance to medical practice; 2) to provide students with cutting edge knowledge and concepts relevant to their intended area of specialization, thus making them better house officers; 3) to provide students with a pedagogical model for life-long learning; and 4) to introduce some speculative or forward-looking ideas that may impact upon medical practice in the 21st century.
Logistics: The format for Frontiers courses is determined by the course directors and usually includes lectures, small group discussions, and independent study time. Grading is strictly Pass/Fail and the student's performance is based upon a combination of class participation and/or an oral or written presentation.
Frontiers courses are full-time and attendance at all sessions is required unless special permission is granted by the Course Director. Documentation must be provided for excused absences such as for residency interviews that cannot be rescheduled, or for medical conditions. Students should not schedule other appointments or activities during the dates and times of the Frontiers course. Frontiers courses are rigorous and require self-directed learning outside of scheduled class hours including some evenings. In the past some students have underestimated the demands of Frontiers courses. Frontiers courses can be taken while engaged in a Scholarly Pursuit Project, with permission of the scholarly pursuit mentor. The recommended numbers are 1 week of frontiers during a 3-month scholarly pursuit project and 1-3 weeks of Frontiers during a 4 month project.
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