NSU gains preliminary accreditation for new M.D. program

(Printed with permission from M.Oxenhandler) Photo Caption: The goal of the College of Allopathic Medicine will be to engage students in active learning.

On Oct. 10, Nova Southeastern University administration gained preliminary accreditation to welcome their inaugural class of 50 students for the 2018 academic year in the new Doctorate of Medicine (M.D.) program in the College of Allopathic Medicine.

This accreditation process was guided by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), that accredits M.D. programs in the U.S. and Canada. NSU has now joined the ranks of seven other M.D. programs in Florida and will be one of 148 M.D. programs in the United States.

According to President Hanbury, “The accreditation decision is a transformational moment in the history of NSU which brings the university another step closer toward NSU’s Vision 2020 and its goal of becoming a nationally recognized, top-tier university of teaching, research, service and learning.”

The new college will bring a fresh take on educating future physicians with a unique curriculum. Instead of a lecture format that most M.D. programs might include, the college will keep class sizes small and make cohort and group collaborations the main educational format. The curriculum will focus on research, technology and innovation geared towards the future of medicine and health care techniques.

“The trend of education is going from passive to active learning. An active education means that you are asking me the questions and I’m guiding you along the way. We don’t spoon feed you here,” said Johannes Vieweg, founding Dean of the College of Allopathic Medicine.

Students will learn basic and clinical skills taught in traditional schools, but they will learn them in case studies. Each week, students will be presented with a simulation or real-patient symptom diagnostic and will work together to come up with a clinical diagnosis and plan of action. They will learn through real-world experiences to use research and formulate hypotheses on managing the care of patients in a flipped classroom arrangement with a faculty member’s guidance.

Students in this program will have many interdisciplinary opportunities since the college has partnered with Karolinska Institute in (Stockholm, Sweden), the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) East Florida, NSU’s Cell Therapy Institute and newly opened Center for Collaborative Research.  This is all a part of the complex and diversified curriculum the school has put forth. The students have multiple opportunities to make real world connections here in the United States and internationally, in some cases.

“That’s the beauty of NSU, we have all of these resources at our disposal,” Vieweg said.

“The students of tomorrow want to have many influences. They want to learn more than just the procedures. That is what will differentiate the college from other [colleges].”

HCA will begin construction on a 200-bed hospital on  NSU’s Fort Lauderdale/Davie campus which will be used for teaching and research purposes with the students in mind. Officials believe this hospital will put NSU students ahead of the learning curves as they will be able to start simulated clinical rotations prior to residency. Not only will the hospital provide jobs for the community, it will also become a valuable resource to future M.D. students.

“You don’t have to travel. You can form relationships with doctors [at HCA] so you can have resources on-site. This will become an integrated community that provides students with  better health care information than anybody else,” said Vieweg.

The college will focus on guidance and education in the classroom as well as help students make connections that can be used for the future. They will offer match counseling so students can explore options for their residency. Students will enter clinical rotations halfway through their second year of medical school, providing additional real-world training during their four-year program.

“Currently, we have 14 hospitals but the predominate hospitals tend to be centered more in South Florida where they have established residency programs. To have the doctor and the resident as both the educator and the mentor is very powerful,”said Vieweg.

This new program will focus on problem-based learning centered around cohorts of seven or eight students. Officials think innovation, technology and research will provide NSU M.D. students with an experience that will prepare them to be at their best when they head to residencies and pursue their dreams of becoming a physician in the future. This inaugural class and classes that follow have to fit a strict set of criteria.

“We want students who like how we teach and what we teach. This isn’t for everyone. This is for self-starters, independent thinkers and people with leadership capabilities,” said Vieweg. “By being selective we can define the next generation of leaders in medicine.”