The University of Texas System Board of Regents have approved a measure to establish a Doctor of Medicine degree program at UT-Rio Grande Valley.
Francisco Fernandez, founding dean of the School of Medicine at UT-RGV, said the medical school will adapt the CIRCLE curriculum acronym, which stands for “curriculum, integration, researchers, clinicians, leaders and educators.”
“It incorporates a variety of different things that are sort of the founding principles, if you will, of the curriculum,” Fernandez said in a phone interview.
The incorporation of active learning strategies, emphasis on teamwork and early patient care are among the concepts medical students at UT-RGV will learn early on.
“Before, people would have to wait two years before they even saw their first patient, now it begins from day one,” Fernandez said. “So, whatever it is that you are looking at learning about, it’s integrated with the clinical aspects of patient care. From the very beginning, there’s a personalization, if you will, of the curriculum itself.”
Fernandez said the school will be looking at a competency-based platform for learning, where students go at their own pace, as opposed to a schedule.
“Those are the basic elements or principles of which the curriculum is based on,” Fernandez said. “The strategies that are used are completely different.”
Fernandez said he is looking into the possibilities of competency-based learning with a significant amount of use of technology with the learning.
“There’s less reliance on the old- fashioned lecture information that’s passive fact transfer from a professor to a student and a significant amount of having a student learn to ask the right questions, then answer them and find where to answer them,” Fernandez said. “A self-instruction kind of basis, because what you want is for them to develop the habits of mind and habits of work of life-long learning.”
Fernandez said these skills are ones that continue throughout a career as a physician.
UT-RGV medical school will admit their first class in fall 2016, with the first graduation in 2020.