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Alpert Medical School is in the process of designing new courses for the Program in Liberal Medical Education, some of which will focus more on practical applications of pre-medical material. New courses geared toward first-year and senior PLME and pre-medical students will attempt to provide better preparation for medical school.

The addition to the curriculum comes on the heels of a report from the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which recommends colleges change requirements for pre-med students.

Requirements for medical school across the country have not changed significantly since the 1950s, said Philip Gruppuso, associate dean of medical education. "I think we could be much more creative about how natural sciences and quantitative sciences are incorporated into the pre-medical curriculum," he said.

At Brown, new courses for seniors will have "a very obvious clinical medical orientation," and be concerned with "topics that have a strong biological science relevance but also a social and/or behavioral medicine and ethical context," he said.

"Disorders of Sex Development"  and "Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer Susceptibility" are examples of possible senior courses. By adding courses that focus not just on natural sciences, but also their application to medical practice, the Med School hopes the curriculum for the PLME program — through which undergraduates are granted admission to the Med School when they matriculate at the College — will "be more efficient" in terms of preparing students for medical school, Gruppuso said.

Though the courses are still in the development stage, Gruppuso said he hopes they will be ready by next fall. And though he said he hopes courses such as these will eventually become integral parts of the curriculum, their continuation will likely be determined by student response.  "We're certainly not going to go off and create a requirement unless we know that it's going to work for students," he said.

The Med School is currently soliciting student, faculty and alumni opinion on the new PLME curriculum through an online survey.



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