As part of an effort to enhance student advising and mentoring and to develop professionalism in the students of the School of Medicine, the seven academic societies were founded in the 1999-2000 academic year and named after past leaders of the School of Medicine. Each society is headed by a faculty director, who also serves as an assistant dean for student affairs. Society members include many of the faculty of the school along with students. The purpose of the societies is to
The academic societies are an essential component of the School of Medicine's Professionalism Initiative. By allowing more individualized and small-group contact between students and faculty, the society environment encourages open discussions of professionalism in all academic settings as well as the expansion of a formal curriculum for the teaching of professionalism.
Societies sponsor periodic gatherings for students and faculty. These gatherings are both academic (e.g., invited speakers) and social (e.g., dinners). Faculty members serve as academic advisers for one to two students in each class. To the extent possible, students are matched with faculty based on interests. Faculty also may provide career advice for students and serve as resources for their advisees during their entire four years at the School of Medicine.
The KU Women in Medicine and Science (WIMS) program in the School of Medicine fosters equality in the academic community by promoting excellence through leadership, mentoring, and community involvement. The goals of the organization are to help individuals at all levels.
For more information, visit us on the Web at www2.kumc.edu/wims.
The Medical Education Network Sites are an integral part of the School of Medicine's mission to implement rural health initiatives throughout the state. Each of the five sites represents a region of Kansas. Each region has a medical education director, a practicing physician who also works for the school's Office of Medical Education. Medical education directors help coordinate efforts to mentor, train, and place physicians throughout Kansas. Network sites work closely with the Health Policy Institute, State Data Board, Department of Health and Environment, Office of Rural Health, and all health profession schools at KU and other Regents institutions. Activities include support of local medical center educational programs through support services to community-based faculty and learners; coordination of local premedical student recruitment activities, including the Summer Mentor Program and Scholars in Primary Care; identification and development of collaborative practices to become health profession education sites; and assisting communities in recruiting health-care providers.
The need for rural primary care physicians continues to be critical in the majority of Kansas counties, and a rural track for medical students helps address this need. Four third-year students are assigned to the North Central Medical Education Network Site in Salina, which is also the home of the Smoky Hill Family Practice Residency Program. These students complete a semester of their third year and at least three courses during their fourth year in Salina.
Students accepted into the Rural Track live in the region, and assurances are made that they will complete the same educational objectives for each clerkship as those in Kansas City or Wichita even though the delivery method may vary considerably. They engage in more self-directed learning, as time in the classroom and with peers is reduced. Generalist medical education predominates. Course requirements and evaluation instruments are the same for Rural Track students as for other medical students.
Despite remarkable advances in science and health care, health disparities persist in the United States. Health disparities exist in Kansas, too, and the disparate morbidity and mortality and leading causes of death and disease for ethnic minorities in Kansas reflect those of the nation. In Kansas, African-American adults, for example, are at higher risk of death and disease due to heart disease, cancer, cerebrovascular accidents, and other chronic conditions. African-American Kansans have issues related to less access to high-quality health care and information about heath promotion and disease prevention compared to nonminority Kansans.
The Nicodemus Project is a multidisciplinary, health screening, promotion of wellness, disease prevention, service learning, and community outreach project in a culturally sensitive setting. The Nicodemus Project takes place in the rural and historic African-American town of Nicodemus, Kansas, during the town's Annual Homecoming Celebration, commemorating the exodus of former slaves to the promised land of Kansas. The Nicodemus project is coordinated and led by the School of Medicine's Office of Cultural Enhancement and Diversity.
The Scholars in Primary Care program offers college sophomores from Kansas a two-year premedical curriculum featuring community-based primary care experiences and other activities. Each year, six scholars demonstrating high probability that they will pursue careers as primary care physicians in medically underserved areas of Kansas are selected. Students who successfully complete the program during their junior and senior years are assured admission to the School of Medicine. Additional information is available at www.kumc.edu/som/scholars.html.