During the first year of medical school, students jump right into healthcare. The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA (DGSOM) offers an innovative medical school curriculum that constantly evolves to meet students' needs and adapts to changes in the healthcare industry.
Here's a closer look at what students can expect in the first year of medical school.
UCLA celebrates student diversity. Students come from all around the country and the world, and they have varied backgrounds, medical interests, and personal passions. The school's large first-year classes (often filled with nearly 200 people) reflect student diversity.
To accommodate diverse interests and passions, the DGSOM offers a variety of clubs and interest groups to keep students actively engaged as they pursue a medical education.
Courses and the learning environment
The first year starts with a week-long course designed to prepare new students for medical school and medical practice. Students learn how the school organizes classes into blocks according to biological systems.
The five first-year blocks are:
During each 6-10 week block, students work in small groups, engage in problem-based learning, attend lectures and complete interactive laboratory exercises.
"Students are exposed to dedicated basic science and clinical faculty who are nationally and internationally recognized in their fields," says Zaldy Tan, MD, assistant dean of curricular affairs.
The school’s leadership carefully designed medical education to prepare students for the future of medicine.
"Medical practice has changed dramatically in the past decade," Dr. Tan says. "Doctors now operate as part of interprofessional teams. Thus, we are reshaping medical instruction to promote team-based learning and communication."
The DGSOM also provides students authentic clinical experiences. First- and second-year students apply their experiential learning to develop clinical reasoning skills.
"We train students not only to understand how a vital organ, such as the heart, functions, but also how to apply that knowledge to diagnose or treat a disease they will likely encounter as a future physician," Dr. Tan says. "The goal is to bring to life the facts and concepts they're learning early on by solving a clinical dilemma and determining the best course of action for the virtual patients they encounter in the clinical reasoning labs."
Student diversity and faculty dedication provide a unique medical-school experience. Furthermore, by attending a school that is part of a large, nationally ranked health system, students have access to varied clinical experiences, interesting patient populations and cutting-edge medical technology. This access gives students a glimpse of where they might fit in the medical industry.
"We are training future leaders in science, but students have the freedom to decide how they want to lead," Dr. Tan says. "First and foremost, we encourage students to be culturally competent, intellectually curious, compassionate and collaborative individuals."