Learning in the preclinical years occurs in the lecture hall, with professors delivering the details of how both the healthy and the diseased body functions. Guest lecturers, medical center, and community physicians, and specialists in research on current topics provide first-hand knowledge to supplement the instruction. Patients occasionally present to the class, giving a unique perspective.
Students learn hands-on in the laboratory settings, from dissecting the intricacies of the human body in gross anatomy lab, to viewing normal microscope slides in histology and diseased specimens in pathology. Lab studies are conducted in pairs or small groups, which encourages active learning and team work. Small groups are common in the classroom setting. Numerous courses assign case studies and projects designed for group learning. The application of the different teaching styles is specifically designed to maximize learning and prepare students to become critical thinkers.
The clinical years transition the medical student of the classroom into the student doctor in the hospital setting. The third year begins with the Student Clinician Ceremony, which celebrates that transition. Student clinicians work in different departments throughout the University hospitals and clinics, with a variety of health care providers including physicians, residents, nurses and other students.
The focus is hands-on learning through direct patient care. Students assist with procedures and patient care under the guidance of residents and attendings, making them a vital part of the team. The clinical skills that UMMC medical students possess are widely recognized by residency programs throughout the country.