Features of the University Park Curriculum
Will the content for first-year students in the University Park Curriculum be the same as for first-year students in the Hershey Curriculum?
All students in Penn State College of Medicine must achieve the same competencies and overall educational outcomes (subcompetencies) in order to graduate from its College of Medicine. However, the order of content, learning methods and types of assessments for first-year students in the University Park Curriculum differ from those used in the Hershey Curriculum. While they do not need to be identical, they do need to be comparable. The key concept is that, while the path may be different, the overall learning outcomes are the same.
Will the faculty teaching first- and second-year students at University Park be the same as the faculty in Hershey?
All medical faculty teaching our students are faculty in Penn State College of Medicine. Some are based in Hershey, some are based in University Park, and some teach in both locations. The majority of teachers guiding and developing the University Park Curriculum are based at University Park. In addition, some faculty from Eberly College of Science at Penn State University Park contribute to teaching.
Will students have the opportunity to complete elective clinical rotations at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and/or elsewhere, both nationally and internationally?
Yes. Based on their interests and career goals, students have the opportunity to complete clinical rotations at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and medical institutions outside the Penn State Health system.
Is the University Park Curriculum oriented toward training primary-care physicians?
The University Park Curriculum is committed to training the most capable physicians in any specialty; who will serve the needs of patients and communities; and who will practice, collaborate and engage in a career of lifelong inquiry and learning. Students in the University Park Curriculum pursue careers in a variety of specialties and locations, not limited to primary care.
How does the University Park Curriculum teach concepts in areas such as biochemistry or pharmacology?
Concepts in the foundational sciences (for example, biochemistry and pharmacology) are taught in an integrated and multilayered fashion. This begins with a "first pass" in Inquiry Group discussions that are mapped and tracked to inform future discussions and assessment. Topics identified as requiring additional depth and faculty expertise trigger discussions in Collaborative Science Seminars and Novel Clinical Integrated Sessions. An additional layer occurs during the Core Clerkships as students participate in the integrated science sessions of the weekly “Marsh Rounds” in Patients and Sciences 3. Students return to foundational science concepts and anatomy in a deliberate fashion, after completing the clerkships, during the five-month Patients and Sciences 4 course at the beginning of the third year. All student learning is mapped and tracked to the same College of Medicine core content used by the Hershey Curriculum.
What are community half-days, and why are they important?
Community service is an important element of the University Park Curriculum. Community half days allow student participation in selected community-based organizations — curricular time for such work is built into the learning process. Community service is not “extra” or “added on,” it's integral to what it means to be a University Park student. In addition, students have the opportunity to participate in and lead University Park LionCare, which provides free services to vulnerable patients in the Centre County area.
How often should I plan to go to Hershey for academic requirements?
This will vary according to needs and availability of coursework and faculty. Trips to Hershey occur during orientation and for educational sessions and assessments that are common for all students. Most academic needs are met by the robust resources available at University Park. In general, students might expect one trip per quarter to Hershey.