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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mar 7, 2006    #044
Contact: Louise Arnold, PhD., School of Medicine
(816) 235-1806

March 9 conference will draw 13 med schools to Hospital Hill

At the request of medical schools across the country, the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Medicine will have a conference to display its “learning communities” style of medical education called docent units.

Learning communities is one of the most exciting concepts being discussed among medical educators today. It is said to revolutionize the way medical students prepare for their careers as physicians.

Learning communities restructure curricular experiences so that there is close and sustained interaction between students and teachers for active learning. It integrates curriculum across disciplines and acknowledges the emotional component of teaching and learning.

While learning communities may be a new paradigm for academic medicine, UMKC School of Medicine has been employing the method for about 30 years.

“We’re probably the oldest learning community in medical education in the United States,” said Louise Arnold, Ph.D., UMKC School of Medicine professor and director of medical education and research.

The UMKC conference for Learning Communities in Medical Education will take place March 9: morning sessions will happen at the Eye Foundation of Kansas City, 2300 Holmes St.; afternoon sessions will commence at the Diastole house, 2501 Holmes Street.

UMKC is set to describe its unique docent approach during the morning session. Docent units consist of 12 students. Each junior student is paired with a senior to facilitate mentoring during weekly ambulatory clinics and inpatient internal medicine clerkships at major hospitals. A faculty physician, called a docent, leads the student units until graduation.

Keynote speaker for the conference will be Michael Whitcomb, M.D., editor of Academic Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal that covers innovations and research in medical education, governmental policies and administration issues. He is also senior vice president of the Division of Medical Education for the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Thirteen schools are set to attend the conference. Several of them will present their learning communities, including: Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, University of California Davis School of Medicine, University of Iowa, University of Washington School of Medicine.

UMKC is one of four University of Missouri campuses. It is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a three-part mission: visual and performing arts, health and life sciences and urban affairs. This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).

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