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Dr. Erica Friedman, vice dean for educational affairs, shares what sets Penn State College of Medicine apart

Dr. Erica Friedman was named Penn State College of Medicine’s vice dean for educational affairs on Aug. 1. We asked for her insights into what makes the College of Medicine unique among medical schools.

I’ve been the vice dean for educational affairs for three months and I am so lucky to work with such amazing, engaged and passionate students, faculty and administration. I want you to understand how the outside medical education community and I value the novel Penn State College of Medicine medical education program.

Our three medical school tracks provide a flexible, unique and unparalleled curriculum. We allow medical students to graduate in three years, knowing early on what specialty they will practice. Most students graduate in four or five years, having the opportunity to get additional degrees or certificates including a master’s in business, public health or medical education, or become a health systems science scholar. Others select our University Park Curriculum, a longitudinal integrated clerkship and self-directed integrated curriculum.

We are trailblazers in what the American Medical Association calls the third medical school science: health systems. Our students are trained as systems thinkers, achieving yellow and white Six Sigma certificates. They graduate knowing the principles, methods and practice of improving quality, outcomes and costs of health care delivery for patients and populations within the systems of medical care.

We have a leading-edge humanities curriculum that facilitates our students’ humanistic sensitivity, self-reflection, and ability to understand and address the social determinants and ethical issues that impact patients’ health, care and treatment.

We utilize assessment not just for demonstrating competency but for improving students’ self-directed learning.

In the following weeks, we will highlight various aspects of our students’ education: our curriculum, including our ultrasound point of care and simulation, assessments, student research, and our faculty and student triumphs.

I feel so lucky to be a part of an academic medical center so committed to our students’ success and professional and personal development. WE ARE recognized as an amazing college of medicine and should feel proud of who we are, of what we have, and of what we will continue to achieve together.

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