Undergraduate Medical Education
Frequently Asked Questions
JeffMD is patient-centered. In every case study and clinical encounter, you will be asked to consider “What are this patient’s goals?” (not just, “What needs fixing?”). In another noteworthy feature, JeffMD integrates clinical experience, science instruction, and development of a professional persona - how you will interact with clients and peers - throughout the four years of medical school. JeffMD also allows you to customize your studies more than a traditional curriculum does: You will be encouraged to declare a specialty interest before the last phase of the curriculum so you can complete work on your core competencies in the context of that specialty.
Even among medical school curricula changing in similar directions, JeffMD is unusual for the degree of integration among clinical experience, science instruction, and professional development across all four years. The structure of Scholarly Inquiry is also unusual, allowing students to complete a series of projects and shift among tracks over four years.
In broad stroke, yes. You will still learn about all the major organ systems in the first phase of medical school, and complete a series of clinical rotations in the second phase. You will still incorporate fundamental science, such as anatomy and biochemistry, into everything you do. However, JeffMD students have a greater focus on case studies and problem-solving, frequently in small groups, that emphasizes critical thinking skills and clinical context. Constant and growing clinical experience is coupled with relevant science instruction.
What has been the impact on students’ board scores in other medical schools that have reformed their curricula in similar directions?
Board scores in aggregate have stayed the same or risen in every medical school engaged in similar curriculum reform of which we are aware.
Yes. An interphase of eight weeks after the first phase of JeffMD allows students to study for USMLE, Step 1 without any scheduled academic activities. Many students spend about six weeks in intensive study and then take two weeks of vacation, but you can certainly change these proportions as you wish. Students have great flexibility in scheduling their Phase 3 electives and clerkships to allow ample time to prepare for USMLE, Step 2.
How can I have meaningful clinical experience in my first year before I have a solid knowledge base?
A first-year student might, for instance, spend time with patients finding out what they are most concerned about, what support systems they have at home, and what beliefs they have about their own health. You may be involved in patient education and helping to solve non-medical barriers to assist the patient in getting what they need to optimize their health. You may spend time learning about community resources and the roles of other healthcare professionals, so you know more about what they can bring to a care team. As your skills and knowledge increase, you will take on more responsibility, always with the guidance of a mentor.
JeffMD is a competency-based curriculum. You will move from one phase to the next because you have demonstrated the needed competencies, not just because you have put in enough time and passed a test in a given subject. Faculty will evaluate your readiness to move on based on your knowledge, attitudes and skills measured in a variety of ways during each phase of JeffMD. The overall emphasis in this curriculum is on critical thinking skills rather than memorization.
The grading system is pass/fail in Phase 1. Phase 2 (core clerkships) have tiered grading while Phase 3 has some courses with tiered grading and others such as the Advanced Basic Science Courses that are pass/fail.
To hone their investigative skills, all students will complete a project or series of projects over their four years of medical school. You are able to choose a concentration of special interest to you, from eight different Scholarly Inquiry tracks. You will have a mentor supervising your progress and the opportunity to change concentrations at a couple of different points.
The best doctors have always been seekers; but today more than ever, the skills involved in the process of inquiry must be razor sharp. The electronic tools at any clinician’s fingertips mean the challenge is less finding information than assessing its value and applying it effectively and efficiently. JeffMD’s Scholarly Inquiry component hones the skills of lifelong learning: formulating a good question, knowing where to seek knowledge and how to analyze what you find, and testing a reasonable hypothesis against the evidence.
How can I declare my specialty before the last full year and before I have been exposed to all specialties?
Students who are truly undecided can simply choose their final electives and clinical rotations, based on the skills and areas of knowledge they want to strengthen rather than the demands of a particular specialty.
No matter what specialty you choose to explore in Phase III, you will still be rounding out the core competencies you need to complete medical school and enter a residency. Thus, you will be able to change specialties if you discover your original selection is not right for you.
Based on our graduates’ reputation for clinical excellence and solid fundamentals, SKMC graduates have always enjoyed superb options for residencies.
Email us at JeffMD@jefferson.edu with your questions. We will answer them as quickly as we can.