Medical and graduate education is evolving in new and exciting dimensions as we respond to myriad breakthroughs in science, technology and medicine. The treatment and prevention of disease is changing rapidly, and we face an entire paradigm shift in healthcare delivery. New medical curricula are being developed to reflect these changes. Innovative teaching methods are made possible by cutting-edge information technology and multimedia learning resources. And programs for the development of the next generation of investigators are transformed by novel research tools with staggering analytical power.
A key feature of our response to this changing pedagogical landscape at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA is the adoption of education tracks or pathways. Where we once asked medical school matriculants to contemplate a specialty, today we invite them to choose a career pathway. This approach allows for an in-depth, multidimensional exposure to an interest area, experienced over an extended time period that can range from four to eight years.
PRIME, the University of California Program in Medical Education, is one of these pathways. Focused on the development of leaders in medicine addressing policy, care and research in healthcare for the underserved, PRIME is a five-year dual-degree program, adding an M.B.A., M.P.H., M.H.A. or M.P.P. to the M.D. UCLA PRIME students enroll in one of three participating institutions: UCLA, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, or the University of California, Riverside.
The Pathway for Clinical and Translational Research allows students to experience the process of moving biomedical research findings from the bench to the bedside and then out into the community. Students participate in activities that deepen their understanding of the requisite knowledge, skills and experiences for successful clinical and translational investigation that is multidisciplinary and team-oriented.
The Global Health Pathway is yet another option. This pathway prepares students for global-health careers in the U.S. Government (e.g., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), at multilateral organizations (e.g., the United Nations agencies), in academic health centers at a U.S. university but focused on global health, or in a developing country where they engage in research, clinical care and/or teaching.
Finally, there is the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), in conjunction with the California Institute of Technology. The MSTP is designed to provide intensive research training for students interested in careers in biomedical science and requires an average of eight years of study leading to both the M.D. and Ph.D. degrees. Students pursue Ph.D. degrees in traditional biomedical research fields as well as in engineering and chemistry, in social sciences, and in health policy through the RAND Corporation graduate program.
These education pathways represent one of the many approaches we are taking in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA to prepare our medical students to seize the opportunities and meet the challenges of an increasingly dynamic and fluid profession. In adopting new approaches, we are ever mindful of our vision, as articulated in the recent strategic plan for the school and UCLA Health System, to “create world leaders in health and science” who will shape the future.
A. Eugene Washington, M.D., M.Sc.
Vice Chancellor, UCLA Health Sciences
Dean, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Gerald S. Levey, M.D., Endowed Chair