Keri Cowles, MD
Daniel Bacon, MD
Diwash Thapa, MD
Arthur Gribensk, MD
Overview and Application Process
Importance of this Curriculum
Due to its effectiveness, affordability and safety, point-of-care ultrasonography (POCUS) has become one of the most important diagnostic tools in clinical practice, with applications in nearly every specialty and subspecialty. The ultrasound SCP provides opportunities to supplement exposure to clinical ultrasound and facilitates participation in ultrasound related scholarship and educational innovation.
Our goals are to provide opportunities for interested students to make ultrasound a defining characteristic of their medical school experience through clinical exposure and scholarship. We envision that upon completion, scholarly concentration program students will become ultrasound leaders and educators at their prospective residency programs. This curriculum provides students the opportunity to develop a longitudinal portfolio of ultrasound scans, participate in an ultrasound elective, and conduct scholarly work in ultrasound-related research or educational innovation.
There are no minimum requirements to apply. Due to the structure of the curriculum, we accept students only during their first year in Foundation Phase. Students will be accepted through a competitive application process in the fall of their MS1 year with scholarly concentration curriculum beginning in the summer after MS1 year.
Please provide your most recent CV and a 1-page personal statement (single spaced, font style: Times New Roman, font size: 12), addressing:
- How you envision using point-of-care ultrasound in a future career and how this program will assist in your journey.
- Initial ideas about a final project. This could include categories like clinical research, teaching experience, educational research, global health, quality improvement, simulation, basic science, and healthcare access. This does not have to be fully developed or carried out upon matriculation. Please know this is not intended to be a burdensome request of you.
- How do you see POCUS contributing to more equity in medicine, and what role can you play in that process during your time at UNC SOM and further in your career?
Program Structure and Highlights
Distinct components beyond the school of medicine curriculum include:
- Ultrasound skill development curriculum in the Summer/Early Fall after MS1 year.
- Elective credit in ultrasound fulfilled either by enrolling for credit during the summer curriculum after MS1 year or by elective credit in an ultrasound clinical elective during Individualization Phase.
- Application and Individualization Phase case presentations with an opportunity for peer-reviewed online publication on our curated open access website
- Ultrasound scan portfolio
- Final project in ultrasound-related research or educational innovation
The highlight of the SCP in the Foundation Phase is the summer curriculum after MS1 year. In this summer curriculum, students will advance basic skills in ultrasound developed during their first year in medical school. Students will complete select EMsono modules and acquire relevant scans using the program’s loaner Butterfly probes. Students will then upload their scans to their Butterfly cloud account where faculty members provide comments on image quality. Several in-person scanning sessions are also offered in the summer and fall for hands-on scanning opportunities and real time feedback on image acquisition skills. This course also allows the students to begin ultrasound scan portfolios
In addition, Foundation Phase students are expected to attend at least 3 monthly case presentations (details are outlined below) before moving on to the Application Phase.
The core feature of the Application Phase curriculum is the 30-minute monthly case conference series, which occurs every third Wednesday of the month via Zoom. This activity was instituted to provide longitudinal opportunity for students to build on the competencies introduced during the summer curriculum, develop image interpretation skills, and directly apply skills to patient care. The conferences are student-led and center on a case or topic of their choosing, with emphasis on patient care and the role of POCUS. While the format and intention of this presentation is up to the individual student, students usually create presentations and opt to have their work peer-reviewed for online publication in the program’s curated open access website. This website contains, among other things, past case conference presentations from students, a custom-built Health Sciences Library webpage, as well as a descriptive publication about the SCP. Students are required to lead at least 1 case conference during Application or Individualization Phases and attend 4 additional conferences over the longitudinal timeline.
Completion of scan portfolio: Students will continue to archive ultrasounds for their portfolio and receive faculty feedback. The number of scans required across different organ systems is currently open-ended and tailored as much as possible toward each student’s career and competency aspirations.
Final project in ultrasound: Students will be required to conduct ultrasound related research or engage in educational innovation or teaching within the school of medicine. Students will work closely with faculty leadership as they develop ideas for their final projects. Educational projects could include the development of clinical/teaching electives, learning modules, as well as assisting faculty in teaching ultrasound to students earlier on in the curriculum. The end-product will be a publication or oral presentation and ideally submitted to local, regional, or national societies for scholarly presentation.
Clinical elective in ultrasound: As discussed above, students may participate in an ultrasound-focused clinical elective during their MS4 year. This elective would fulfill the elective credit required by the scholarly concentration if students forego enrollment in the summer elective after MS1 year.