"Even after so many years, I hold a deep sense of meaning in being a physician — a special sense of values that I learned at Wright State and carry with me to each patient, even on busy days."
— Susan B., M.D., Class of 1998
Our curriculum is guided by our understanding of the root word for education, educari, which means to "lead forth the innate wholeness of each student," and our educational objectives, designed to help students know what they need to know and to be able to do by the time of graduation. We encourage you to read these objectives and see if they resonate with what you envision for your education as a physician.
For the first two years, most learning activities occur at White Hall, our medical education center. This is a newly created and renovated space specifically designed for medical student education. Here are classrooms, laboratories, small group rooms, study areas, a lounge, mailboxes and offices for faculty and administrators who are devoted to medical student education. The curriculum of the first two years is called Biennium I, and it provides a rich exposure to the basic medical sciences with close integration with the Medical Ethics and Professionalism course and the practice of medicine through Introduction to Clinical Medicine.
All courses provide learning activities (team-based learning, laboratory projects, online interactions, case discussions) that tie closely to course objectives and often provide educative assessments so that students can benchmark their progress in applying what they learn. We want the Biennium I curriculum to provide significant learning — the kind of learning that "sticks" for more than just a quiz, test or exam.
Enhancing the basic medical sciences of the first two years is Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM), which provides students with closely supervised instruction in interviewing, history building, physical examination and physical diagnosis. It includes a preceptorship with practicing physicians and frequent evaluations of skill development with volunteer patients, standardized patients and teaching associates at the new Skills Assessment & Training Center. Clinical Decision Making in the second year provides a foundation for understanding how the physician can use evidence to make decisions on clinical care.
Electives form an additional set of opportunities for learning about medicine. Some electives are genuine service learning, some can be in a basic medical science laboratory or in a clinic, others can be student designed. Many students enroll in the Healer's Art, a five-session course that engages students in a sharing and reflective process to discover an enduring sense of meaning for a life of service as a physician. Our International Health Curriculum has become one of the most popular elective opportunities as more and more students appreciate their future responsibility to serve people beyond our borders and those from other lands who have immigrated here.
The Biennium II curriculum starts in the third year. This year is devoted to six clerkships that occur at all of our hospital sites, multiple community clinics, and private practice offices. Each clerkship provides the student with supervised clinical-care experiences with patients and their families. In addition, students are expected to read a great deal about clinical disorders and treatment approaches and regularly present their cases. By the end of the third year, all students have had a broad set of experiences in the care of patients and their families, working with a "team," either in the hospital or office setting, and have begun to understand the complexities of providing comprehensive care in a rapidly changing health care system.
The fourth year has considerable flexibility to enhance student pursuit of interests as they define their next steps into residency. Emergency Medicine, Neurology and a Junior Internship integrate many of the third year experiences and, by the end of the year, all students feel confident in their knowledge and skills to begin their first post-graduate year. The spectrum of electives, either existing or student-initiated, provide capstone experiences to broaden the perspective of medicine. Many students elect to spend a couple of months in a Third World country working in a clinic or hospital, complete a laboratory-based research project that started in the first year, or do a fourth year clerkship at another institution in another state.