Medical schools have traditionally relied on undergraduate science grades and the MCAT to select students most eligible for a spot in their program. This approach is based on numerous studies that show evidence that high MCAT scores and G.P.A are highly correlated to medical school performance. This notion may be shifting based on more recent studies that show that MCAT scores are significantly influenced by a student’s race, gender, and socioeconomic status (SES). Few medical schools and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) conducted experiments to test a different approach to medical school admissions. Instead of using grades and MCAT scores, they used SES, cultural background, gender, and the medical school’s particular mission as cut-off points to whittle down the applicant pool.
The results showed that students selected based on the criteria listed above appear to be more collegial and supportive of one another and are more engaged in community activities. They are also as prepared as the more traditional applicants.
A study conducted by The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has experimented with a similar holistic approach in their student selection. The study showed that students performed as well as their more traditional counterparts and were more likely to pursue fields in primary care and psychiatry. Based on the success of the study, the school plans to expand its program and encourage non-traditional college students from all majors to apply to their program.
There is a risk with admitting students without MCAT and G.P.A considerations; it can potentially hurt their standing in the national surveys. Nonetheless, 43 of the nation’s 141 medical schools have already expressed interest in adopting some form of the holistic review approach. Over the next few years, the AAMC will track how students admitted using this approach perform in medical school, during training, and the inpatient setting. It will be interesting to see the implication that this approach has on the future of medical schools, medical applicants, and practices.
Researchers in Samsung’s Emerging Technology Lab are testing tablets that can be controlled by your brain, using a hat or cap that resembles a ski hat covered with monitoring electrodes. Often called a brain computer interface, this technology was designed to enable paralyzed people to interact with computers or control robotic arms, all through a single thought of performing the action.
With such innovations in production, soon we may be able to interact with our smartphones and computers simply by using our minds. Some brain-reading products already exist, letting people play basic games or move a mouse around a screen. For example, car manufacturers are exploring technologies packed into the back of the seat that detect when people fall asleep while driving and rattle the steering wheel to awaken them. Another example is the NeuroSky, which released a Bluetooth-enabled headset that can monitor slight changes in brain waves and allow people to play concentration-based games on computers and smartphones. There are many other wearable computers in the works and while there is a lot of progress in this area, there are still many challenges to address when creating such a tool.
The Khan Academy, in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Association of American Medical Colleges, is holding a competition regarding MCAT preparation. On the Khan Academy website, there is a call for video submissions targeting pre-medical and medical curriculum content, along with related review questions. One of the stated goals of the competition is to find the "next generation of medical educators".
The Khan Academy is well known for shaking up traditional educational ideas and practices by offering content in largely visual mediums, with embedded self-assessment and review in the form of mini-quizzes and a variety of progression graphs and metrics. They are now stepping into the world of medical education, and are seeking out the digital native generation to help move that field into the 21st century.
Winners of the video contest receive a paid trip to the Academy HQ to assist in the development of a free and open toolkit for trainees in the health professions. Applicants must be college graduates; and students in the health sciences, along with clinical practitioners, are strongly encouraged to submit videos. [I would make the assumption that having previously taken and passed the MCAT exam would be extremely beneficial to those sending in videos- especially those who are familiar with the changes currently being integrated into the exam, and methods for success.]
Each successful applicant must provide three short (less than 10 minute) videos, and winners will be chosen based on the following criteria:
- Connection or Reference to the MCAT2015 Foundational Concepts at the baccalaureate level
- Teaching style and effectiveness
- Level of authenticity and engagement
- Content Accuracy
I think this could be a great way to get thoughtful, engaging and modern educational content out to those taking the MCAT. Allowing the "crowdsourcing" of didactics, backed up with a critical review of both the content and style, is a novel idea as far as medical education goes. There are multiple benefits here: finding methods to replace the traditional lecture (which is growing more out of favor with today's learners than ever before), giving both junior and senior trainees much-needed experience in crafting lesson plans and interactive sessions, and building a body of free, high-quality test preparation resources. I'll be watching the site in mid-July to see the winning videos!
I stumbled across Visuwords today, an online visual dictionary and thesaurus. I love how it displays the various relationships between words in a dynamic and colorful way. Once I get used to the relationship "legend" I think it will completely replace my other online dictionary and thesaurus sites.
I put in the word "medicine" and it split it out by concept: medication, the practice of medicine, medical specialty, and so on. It differentiates nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs; shows antonym and synonym relationships; relates causes and attributes, and more. (A screenshot of what came up is included below.)
I find this kind of graphic representation of language or word data to be really interesting, and something I could play around with for hours.
Check out this new Touch-Surgery mobile simulator app which allows you to learn and improve surgical skills. You can learn and test yourself on an "unsupervised" surgery and compare and analyze your results.
“Touch Surgery provides Cognitive Task Simulation (CTS) - teaching key operative decision making in a way that has been never done before. This allows you to learn, practice and rehearse a surgical procedure wherever you are, and whenever you need to.”
Touch Surgery was created by four surgeons who felt that surgical trainees are not being given the best education provided the technology that is widely available today.
The creators hope that such an app will not only improve the overall training experience but will allow future surgeons to be better prepared and educated.
The use of technology in the classroom is increasing more and more every day. This article shows evidence that transitioning with the technology era may result in better test scores and possibly better physicians. Many medical schools supply students with iPads to have easy access to electronic textbooks and lecture podcasts. The University of California provided their medical students class of 2014 an iPad to do just that. A report from the university showed that the first class to receive an iPad scored an average of 23% higher on national exams than the previous classes that were not provided an iPad. The average incoming MCAT and GPA of the students were similar.
Students from the University of California use their technology access to do a lot of great things such as create useful health apps. Using technology in medical school gives students more opportunities to be innovative and gain essential knowledge in their fields using technology.
An online video game developed by Bossa programmers allows players to be the surgeon and perform a heart transplant using surgical tools and seeing pixelated blood (this game isn’t for the squeamish) by controlling hand movements through their keyboard and mouse.
The Bossa programmers got positive reviews and are not thinking of developing a full version of Surgeon Simulator in the upcoming years. The new version will include brain surgery and dentistry.
Heart transplants through video games could potentially be a great way to teach students prior to real patient encounters.