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UNC School of Medicine Asheville

Information about Longitudinal Integrated Curriculum

Introduction:

  • UNC School of Medicine Asheville campus opened in July 2009 with the support of UNC School of Medicine, Mission Health, and Mountain AHEC. Beginning with four students, we expanded to 20 students in 2014, 30 students in 2020-21, and currently have 35 students in 2021-22.
  • The foundation of this program, a longitudinal integrated curriculum, is similar to the “Cambridge Model.” In 2004, Harvard restructured their third year clerkships to place a cohort of students in outpatient settings for the majority of their curriculum, which allowed students to follow “their patients” in all health care settings.
  • Longitudinal integrated clerkships (LICs) have the following core principles:
    • Relationship and continuity of the four Ps:
      • Preceptors
      • Patients
      • Place
      • Peers
    • Active, hands on roles with patients
    • Flexibility of unscheduled half days for self directed learning

The Asheville community, with its robust primary care services and diverse specialty practice settings, provides an ideal setting for this type of curriculum. (Reference: Latessa R, Beaty N, Royal K, Colvin G, Pathman DE, Heck J. Academic Outcomes of a Community-Based Longitudinal Integrated Clerkships Program. Med Teach 2015; 37(9):862-867).

  • The longitudinal curriculum utilizes a cadre of dedicated teachers and a greater reliance on outpatient teaching. Students have more exposure to experienced practicing physicians and a much greater likelihood of seeing the same patients over an extended period of time and through the continuum of care.
  • The Individualization Phase reverts to block schedules and presents opportunities for rotations in Asheville and rural WNC, as well as Chapel Hill or across the state, nation, or internationally.

What students say about the program:

Mary-Frances Hall
Hi everyone, I’m Mary-Frances! I was born and raised in State Road, North Carolina where I grew up working in my family’s restaurant, Speedy Chef. It’s been open now for 55 years, and I try to find every opportunity to go home for definitely the best hot dogs in NC. I ventured to Virginia for undergrad at Washington & Lee, where I majored in Neuroscience and spent the majority of my time either in the science library or on the golf course as a member of the women’s golf team.

Following graduation, I spent a year in Greenville, SC as an AmeriCorps member with Impact America before making my way to UNC SOM. Highlights of foundation phase were meeting so many wonderful and talented peers, serving as a member of student government, and working with the Gender Affirming Care Clinic at SHAC.

I have always loved the mountains of western NC, so when I heard there was a UNC SOM campus in Asheville, it was an obvious choice in my mind. Several months into application phase, I am blown away by the compassionate and thoughtful administrators, clinicians, and preceptors that we work with on a daily basis. The longitudinal curriculum has facilitated stronger relationships with both my preceptors and patients, and the small student to faculty ratio has allowed for so many more hands-on moments that can be difficult to find in settings with a larger number of learners.

The memories I’m making outside of shelf studying and clinic with my cohort have provided much needed laughter, down-time, and reflection. I’ve been able to find great balance here whether it be hiking, indoor bouldering, or learning how to skateboard at Foundation in the River Arts District. If I were to re-select a campus, I would definitely still choose Asheville! There are not many places where you can leave the hospital after a Labor and Delivery night shift and see a beautiful sunrise coming over the mountains. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions at all about the campus or living in Asheville!

 

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