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Passion for teaching. Preparing physicians for meaningful and impactful careers.

The Department of Medicine is closely involved in all years of medical education at UNC. Many key educators in the UNC School of Medicine’s Medicine Doctoral Program are faculty in the Department of Medicine. We truly believe education and continued learning is one of the most important aspects of practicing medicine, and we provide full support to our educators and trainees. The Medicine Doctoral Program consists of three phases. Following are some of the areas that involve our faculty.

Foundation Phase

The Foundation Phase, named for the foundational content learned throughout this course, comprises the first 18 months of medical school for UNC students. During this time, students learn core physiology, pharmacology, and pathology, upon which all Internal Medicine topics build. Most of the clinical directors and educators for the different organ systems are taught by Department of Medicine specialists in cardiology, pulmonary medicine, nephrology, gastroenterology, and rheumatology, etc.

Patient Centered Care (PCC)
In the PCC course, students learn to develop thoughtful differential diagnoses for hypothetical cases and simulated patients, perform thorough and informative physical exams, and formally present their ideas to knowledgeable physician mentors who offer real-time feedback and instruction. The Department and its numerous affiliate subspecialties are intertwined throughout Foundation Phase through PCC, and the lessons learned in this longitudinal, interactive course are extremely valuable for success in future clinical training on the wards. Notably, many PCC preceptors are faculty members within the Department of Medicine. While in this course, students are given the opportunity to enter the wards of UNC Hospitals, to interview patients being cared for by Department physicians and practice taking histories and performing exams.
Interest Groups
Student-run interest groups such as the Internal Medicine Interest Group, Medicine-Pediatrics Interest Group, and subspecialty groups such as the Cardiology Interest Group and GI Interest Group, provide opportunities to connect pre-clinical students with faculty members. These groups host events such as panel discussions and case presentations throughout the year. Students find that these groups provide great opportunities for leadership positions, mentorship, and building community during the pre-clinical years.
Clinical Opportunities
The Student Health Action Coalition (SHAC) is a completely student-run clinic in Carrboro, NC, that serves un- and under-insured people in the community. Students practice their internal medicine skills as they see patients under the supervision of a third-or-fourth year student, present the patient to an attending physician, and work with the team to develop a differential diagnosis and treatment plan. SHAC is an amazing opportunity to hone both clinical and presentation skills prior to Application Phase. In addition, because SHAC is student-run, interested students can apply for leadership roles within the coalition, including SHAC Medical Director, Triage Director/Staff, Care Management Director, and more.

Bloomer Hill is another avenue through which UNC students serve the community of Eastern North Carolina, through outpatient internal medicine. This clinic provides an opportunity for students to see patients and practice their clinical skills under the close supervision of senior medical students and attending physicians. Visits commonly include blood sugar checks, blood pressure management, and UNC subspecialty referrals.

Comprehensive Advanced Medical Program in Spanish (CAMPOS)
Students with intermediate or advanced fluency in Spanish can participate in CAMPOS. Dr. Marco Alemán, a professor within the Division of General Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology is both the founder and director of this longitudinal program that was developed to prepare medical students to care for Spanish-speaking patients. Much like PCC, CAMPOS also prepares students to thrive in an internal medicine environment through a process that considers a broad differential diagnosis and work closely with faculty members to develop a treatment plan. Numerous Spanish-speaking providers lecture students on topics including gastroenterology, cardiology, and infectious diseases.
In the summer following the first year of the medical program, some students choose to work on research projects within the field of internal medicine. Interested students can find ongoing research projects in the Office of Medical Student Research.

Application Phase

During the Application Phase (third year) students will spend eight weeks on inpatient internal medicine services (i.e., clerkship), divided between general medicine and various subspecialties including infectious disease, nephrology, cardiology, gastroenterology, hematology, and oncology. If students choose to go to a branch campus, they may have different clinical schedules. While on Medicine rotations during the Application Phase, students will build on skills developed in Foundation Phase and begin to manage the direct care of their patients while under the close supervision of their medical team. The emphasis of the clerkship is the acquisition of the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors that form the core of inpatient internal medicine. By the end of clerkship, students should be well on the way to developing a rational, evidence-based approach to the evaluation and care of hospitalized adult patients. During this year, students also take a community based longitudinal care course in the ambulatory setting. Students work in the outpatient setting for 16 weeks, which is frequently with an internal medicine physician.

Social and Health Systems 4
This course is required for all third-year medical students. During this course students explore hidden curriculum topics such as Race, Gender, Trauma, Pain, End of Life Communication, Health Care Structure and Financing, Global Health, Community Service to enhance their skills of reflection, interprofessional education, communication, and ethical reasoning.  This space is also a place to cultivate wellbeing, support and explore professional identity formation and learn more about population health topics,  all much needed in these challenging times. These topics are foundational to being a well-rounded physician with skills related to empathy, advocacy related to disparities, cost effective care, etc.

Individualization Phase

Students interested in internal medicine will be paired with a career goal advisor at the start of the Individualization Phase (fourth year). The role of this faculty member is to support students in writing their ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service) application and developing their final list of residency programs to which they will apply. During Individualization Phase, students typically complete two acting internships in medicine or a medicine subspecialty. The remainder of the year is spent rotating through various electives and completing one critical care course. Students interested in internal medicine typically opt to spend time in the Medicine ICU, though other ICU options are certainly available. Popular electives among students interested in internal medicine include Infectious Diseases, Palliative Care, Hematology/Coagulation Consults, Pulmonology, Nephrology, Cardiology, Endocrinology, and Gastroenterology. These rotations allow students to enhance their clinical knowledge and training in their fields of interest, while gaining skills that will help them succeed in future residencies.

Bridging the Gap
Bridging the Gap is a program created in 2020 by UNC Internal Medicine residents with the goal of creating partnerships between attendings, fellows, and/or residents with third-and-fourth year medical students who are interested in the UNC Internal Medicine or Medicine/Pediatrics Residency Programs.

We are the largest department on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill, and it is our privilege and duty to model the active engagement and work necessary to fulfill and maintain our mission of equity, diversity and inclusion. As we work to improve the health and wellbeing of people across North Carolina and beyond through excellence in patient care, education, research, and innovation, it is also our privilege and duty to model the beautiful tapestry of our state of NC fortified by a population that mirrors every dimension of diversity one can imagine. Learn more about our values and culture.

Directors of Undergraduate Medical Education

Koyal Jain, MD, MPH, and Ashley Henderson, MD, are the directors of Undergraduate Medical Education for the Department of Medicine. They work with the excellent educators in the Department and collaborate with the UNC School of Medicine to make the internal medicine experience seamless. Additionally, they are working on incorporating innovative methodology and mentoring medical students who are interested in internal medicine. This involves integrating the medical knowledge with clinical skills and sensitivity to patient needs at an early stage in the medical career. They want to ensure medical students continue to receive a strong education in every aspect of internal medicine. As directors, they provide continuity across all phases of internal medicine education–foundational to application and individualization–working to understand the medical student experience across the board.

Internal Medicine Medical Student Chiefs

The role of the Internal Medicine Medical Student Chiefs was created in 2020 by the Department of Medicine Undergraduate Medical Education Task Force and was modeled after the Internal Medicine Chief Resident program at UNC. The mission of Student Chiefs is to strengthen communication between medical students and faculty, bolster the student curriculum through supplemental educational opportunities, and function as mentors and advocates for their medical student peers as they undergo their clerkship training on Internal Medicine rotations.

Former Chiefs

Are you a prospective or current student with questions about internal medicine?

As the largest clinical department in the UNC School of Medicine, faculty in the Department of Medicine are recruited not only for their strong clinical skills, but also with an understanding that medical education is part of their position. This interest is easily seen in the classroom and on the wards as students are involved at every level of training. We welcome students of many backgrounds and experience, and we encourage you to learn more about UNC and the Department of Medicine.

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