Greetings from the University of Minnesota Medical School Duluth campus OSR! The position of OSR is unique. We have the wonderful privilege to serve as liaison with other medical schools and organizations to better our education. It serves as an opportunity to collect and represent unique qualities of medical schools and curricula. Of recent interest is the proposal to remove honors from the first two years of medical school.
The concept to remove honors at the University of Minnesota originated from the Duluth campus in observation of other medical education curricula around the country. Dr. Alan Johns, the Associate Dean of Curriculum at Duluth, stated that originally most students were against the idea. They cited concerns of falling academic standards and loss of personal goals. Some faculty have voiced similar concerns.
Since all concerns were valid, an effort to collect research ensued. Numerous medical schools around the country were transitioning to the pass/fail system. Cited reasons for the switch are numerous. For example, honors requirements vary widely across courses and campuses, and residencies typically do not take high consideration of honors in the first 2 years. With the pass/fail system, data has shown improved student environments with decreased stress and increased collaboration. And interestingly, no marked fall in academic performance has been observed.
While there are legitimate pros and cons to each system, considering this new data, students on both campuses of the University of Minnesota Medical School were polled. The vast majority elected to remove the honors system in favor of a pass/fail system for the first two academic years. A proposal was crafted, and it has recently passed the Curriculum Committees on both campuses. The proposal now will go to the Education Council within the next couple weeks. If accepted, the proposal will continue to the Medical School Dean for final decision.
The national AAMC meeting was held in Seattle, WA this November and we had two of our OSR representatives attend the meeting. Though we did not have time to drink coffee from the first Starbucks or see the views from the Space Needle, we did present a poster at the student session. This poster was presenting the new Food Matters for Doctors course. It is the first course of its kind and was well received by students and staff from other universities. Here is our poster so you can learn more about it too:
In addition to the poster session, we had the opportunity to participate in multiple OSR business meetings along with general conference sessions. The business meetings consist of students from medical schools across the country discussing issues that are pertinent to medical students. Some of the issues that were addressed this year were:
-Residency selection process
The general AAMC conference sessions include a wide range of topics. Though we were not able to attend all the sessions at once, we do have notes available from each session. Please follow this link (http://www.cvent.com/events/learn-serve-lead-2016-the-aamc-annual-meeting/agenda-48fbcb571e6e42a1ad7b886dafdc1107.aspx) for the full meeting agenda and email us at email@example.com for more information about any of the sessions.
Happy October! To the first and second years, congratulations on getting through your first lectures, tests, and perhaps social gatherings of the new school year. For the third years, congratulations on getting through the summer of new experiences and steep learning curves on the wards. For the fourth years, may the odds be ever in your favor (if you might excuse my slightly outdated but fitting reference).
Since the school year can still be called "new," I wanted to offer a another resource from the AAMC. In this resource you will find no tricks, only various wonderful treats broken down by year (i.e. a special section for MS1s, MS2s, etc). Some of the goodies include:
- Summer between MS1 and MS2 opportunities
- How to find a mentor
- Help with finances
- VSAS information
- Guidance on speciality selection
- Residency application information
Here is the link: https://www.aamc.org/download/462376/data/keyresourcesbyyear.pdf
All the best!
Pop quiz: What exactly is an OSR?
A. Orange Suited Raccoons
B. Oddly Shaped Rackets
C. Oblong Silly Radishes
D. Organization of Student Representatives
If you answered D, you are right! On the Student Council, the AAMC-OSRs have the responsibility of being “the voice of students in this organization, connecting students with national news and resources from the AAMC and bringing back information and resources from the AAMC to the university administration, faculty, and students.” There is a beautiful blog post from 2/3/2016 that discusses each of these tasks specifically. Basically, we want to help you! This year we have the following things planned:
Additionally, we are always looking for ideas from you! We want to know if there are other resources you need, if want to know how other schools do things, or if you are doing something interesting within the medical school that you want highlighted at an AAMC Meeting. So as the school year starts if you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to call your friendly neighborhood orange suited raccoon!
Even though it is still hot and sticky outside, the new school year is fast approaching us. As the air becomes crispier and people start thinking up everything that goes with pumpkin spice, I always start to think what will I do this school year? What will be my mark? How can I contribute to the student body and to the community? If you are like me, I have a list of wonderful resources that can jump start your thinking process. A number of the resources are found on the AAMC website which if you have not checked it out yet is an amazing wealth of information. Additionally, there are resources from our very own medical school.
RESIDENCY. For some of us it’s far away, and for others, slowly becoming very real. Our choices in specialty and the residency programs we apply to will determine the path the rest of our lives will take, and is a decision that isn’t made lightly. No matter where you are in the process of medical school, wouldn’t it be nice to have information about our options and what these residencies look for in applicants? Well it turns out we have quite a bit of information at our fingertips.
The AAMC has multiple resources for researching specialties, one which is especially helpful is the “Choosing A Specialty” tab on the AAMC website for students. Here you can begin to research specialties that spark your interest and even find out your current competitiveness for them. Along with these options, the AAMC also has information about the process of applying to residencies through the ERAS, which has a lot of helpful information if you are getting close to that time in your medical career.
Resources closer to home include an abundance of information on our Medical Education website here at the UMN Medical School. Here you can find anything from match data to interviews with actual residency directors speaking on what it is they look for in an applicant and what you should be doing to ensure you meet their expectations. Many other residency questions you may have most likely can be found by browsing this area of the website, and I’ve included the link here.
Whichever specialty you choose and wherever you apply to for residency will be a huge decision. Although it may seem like a lot to handle, with the extensive resources through the AAMC and the UMN Medical Education website, hopefully it will make it a little easier to manage.
Having been an organization of student representatives (OSR) representative for two years, I have asked myself this question time and time again - What is OSR? If you read the AAMC website, they state that the representatives "seek to ensure the students actively participate in directing their education, preserving their rights, and delineating their professional responsibilities." If you look to the right of this page, we state that, "as representatives, we are the voice of students in this organization, connecting students with national news and resources from the AAMC and bringing back information and resources from the AAMC to the university administration, faculty, and students." With both of these definitions in mind and still a little confused, I attended the most recent AAMC national meeting this previous October in Baltimore, Learn Serve Lead 2015, with a hazy idea of what was expected of me. However, after three full days of plenary speakers, regional and national business meetings, and sessions addressing quality improvement, health and wellness among students, and curriculum improvement, I have a better idea of what exactly the role of the OSR representative is...
Be the voice of students within the AAMC:
Represent the UMN Medical School:
Provide information and resources from the AAMC:
Really the representatives of the OSR are here to improve the medical school from the students' perspective. This can range from providing information about how other schools are already addressing a concern or running a program to implementing a new project or idea on our campus. If you have something that you think could benefit from the help of the AAMC-OSR representatives, do not hesitate to contact us!
There are many scholarship, fellowship and grant programs available that can help ease the pain of those student loans! The AAMC Committee on Community and Diversity has compiled a database of scholarships that you can easily search to find more funding for your education. You will find resources for under-represented minority groups, students with disabilities, women in medicine, veterans, and much more.
Are you thinking about doing research but need funding? Are you a first year thinking about what to do next summer? The AAMC has also compiled this database of fellowships and grants available for medical students. The links are also listed below. Check it out!
NATIONAL SCHOLARSHIP DATABASE
NATIONAL FELLOWSHIP & GRANT DATABASE
We are the UMN Medical School - Twin Cities Student Representatives to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). As representatives, we are the voice of students in this organization, connecting students with national news and resources from the AAMC and bringing back information and resources from the AAMC to the university administration, faculty, and students.