Northwest Center for Medical Education of the Indiana University School of Medicine
D. Craig Brater, M.D., Dean of the School of Medicine, Director of the Indiana Statewide Medical Education System, and Director of Indiana University Medical Center
W. Marshall Anderson, Ph.D., Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
William Baldwin, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Microbiology and Immunology
The academic program at the Northwest Campus is designed around the principle that the learning of essential basic science information should occur in the context of patient interaction, patient case studies and practice of clinical skills. To that end, the faculty of the Northwest Campus have dedicated themselves to a student-centered and patient-centered approach that involves their widely acclaimed Problem Based Learning Curriculum, the unique History and Physical Learning Center, the Steven C. Beering Library, externship opportunities with local physicians and hospitals, and the participation of 132 volunteer community physicians.
The Northwest campus Patient-Centered Learning Program provides an unique opportunity within the Indiana system for students to experience a different, and we think excellent, approach to medical student learning.
We welcome visits from prospective students who would like to learn more about our Patient-Centered Learning Program and to participate with our first or second year medical students in one of the case-based learning sessions described below. Please contact Dr. Pat Bankston, assistant dean and director, firstname.lastname@example.org, to schedule a visit.
For 19 years after its founding in 1972, Indiana University School of Medicine—Northwest offered a traditional first and second year medical curriculum. Beginning with the 1989-1990 academic year, the Northwest Campus introduced an innovative curriculum with heavy emphasis on problem solving and active learning. The highlights of this new curriculum include: (a) Problem-based learning (PBL) sessions, where small groups of five to seven students meet three times a week for two hours to discuss and analyze patient cases in the presence of a faculty moderator. During these student-directed PBL sessions, students set learning objectives, generate and test hypotheses, share learned information, and apply knowledge of basic science principles to the care of patients. (b) Small numbers of lectures presented by experienced faculty supplementing the PBL sessions by providing helpful overviews of key concepts; (c) Organization of the first- and second-year curricula into seven sequential “steps” or units, allowing students to concentrate all of their studies to one subject at a time; (c) Basic science laboratories in Gross Anatomy, Histology, Neuroscience, and Pathology, providing active-learning experiences that reinforce and expand the knowledge base attained during PBL sessions and lectures; and (e) PBL sessions, lectures and laboratories end by noon each day, allowing ample time for independent study and one or more afternoons per week for other patient based activities.
The seven steps (courses) of the IU School of Medicine—Northwest PBL curriculum are:
Our Doctor/Patient Course facilitates learning of professional skills, values, attitudes and behaviors important to our student doctors.
The History and Physical Learning Center helps student doctors learn and practice interviewing and physical exam skills early in their curriculum.
Students follow an ill patient as the patient’s own student doctor for two years to learn the real-life problems, family situations, financial difficulties, and changes that occur in the course of receiving medical care.
Another important and unique element of the IU School of Medicine—Northwest Doctor/Patient course is The Chronic Patient. Each first-year student is assigned a patient with a chronic medical problem to monitor and care for during the two years that the student is on campus. The Chronic Patient program provides the student multiple opportunities to practice H&P skills on a real patient and offers a unique opportunity to develop a special relationship with a patient for a two-year period. Some students become like family members, attending birthday parties, accompany the patient on visits to the doctor, attending surgeries. Through these interactions, each student learns about the humanistic side of medicine and gains knowledge of patient social, financial, cultural, and spiritual matters that may influence medical care and patient management.
Competency education is an easy matter in our student-centered and patient-centered approach.
The Northwest campus has been a leader in the implementation of the IU School of Medicine Competency-Based Curriculum, and all courses and all faculty participate in competency training and assessment. The goal of the Competency Curriculum is to develop and graduate physicians with characteristics that represent the highest aspirations of the profession. We expect our students to strive for the qualities of altruism, honesty, compassion, respect, responsibility, accountability, and excellence, and upon graduation to pursue their work as a virtuous activity and a moral undertaking. In other words, our goal is for our students to become virtuous physicians. At IU School of Medicine—Northwest, the patient-centered approach, the small student to faculty ratio, three-times-per week small group PBL sessions, and H&P training with SPs allow multiple opportunities to teach competencies and to provide fair evaluations, feedback, and timely help if skills need improvement.
Scholarships and summer research opportunities are available.
A small number of research-oriented medical students are chosen each year to participate in the Summer Research Fellowship Program. Students in this program are awarded a stipend to work on biomedical research projects under the supervision of a campus faculty member in the summer between the first and second year.
Medical students at IU School of Medicine—Northwest are also welcome and encouraged to attend any of the numerous educational programs hosted by the Northwest campus, including (a) our annual fall and spring seminar series in basic and patient-based research; (b) visiting professor lecture hour series presented by guest lecturers; (c) any of the large number of additional medical educational activities that are offered by seven local hospitals.
The student-centered approach helps our students to succeed.
The philosophy of the faculty and support staff toward medical students is one of helpfulness and nurture of adult learners, as student doctors learn the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes characteristic and unique to the special profession that they are entering. The faculty and support staff see themselves as partners, facilitators and resources to help students realize their goal of becoming the best doctor they can be, for their own sake and that of their future patients.
Indiana University School of Medicine—Northwest is located on the Indiana University Northwest campus in the Glen Park area of the city of Gary and occupies approximately 35,000 square feet of a new building on the southwest corner of the campus. The safe and attractive campus is bounded on three sides by the Little Calumet River, the well-kept residential community of Glen Park, and the Gleason Golf Course. Students have 24-hour access to the building and all of its facilities. The new building includes a student lounge with a small kitchen area and refrigerator for personal food storage and preparation. Locker rooms and showers provide students with a place to freshen up after exercise or sessions in the gross anatomy laboratory.
The current undergraduate enrollment at the IU Northwest campus is approximately 5,000 students. IU Northwest has a student union complex with gymnasium and fitness center available for medical student exercise and a cafeteria with low-priced food. Cultural activities on campus are numerous, including an IUN-sponsored local drama group, the Northwest Theater, and the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra. In addition, the numerous sports events, museums, ethnic neighborhoods, restaurants, and cultural attractions of Chicago are less than an hour’s drive from the campus. For those who prefer an escape to the out-of-doors, the Hoosier Prairie and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, in addition to numerous parks in Lake, Porter, and LaPorte Counties, are outstanding areas for hiking, swimming, picnics, and cross-country skiing.
Invited scientists and clinicians present advanced topics and results of their research. Local physicians and Indiana University Northwest faculty and students are invited to attend these weekly presentations.
Since 1995, the Indiana University School of Medicine—Northwest has conducted an outreach program to inform residents of Northwest Indiana of timely and medically relevant topics of interest to them. The sessions are free and open to the general public. The program is formatted in such a way as to give the community a flavor of medical school. Usually, a medical faculty member or local medical expert provide a basic 45-minute lecture on a topic of interest. Following a break with refreshments, a local clinician addresses issues pertinent to the patient’s perspective. Programs to date have been characterized as thought-provoking and informative.
Family medicine, a required third-year clerkship, is available at the School of Medicine—Northwest Campus. This clerkship is designed to familiarize medical students with the principles and practice of the discipline in a primary care setting. The four-week clinical rotation provides students with an extensive exposure to the discipline in an ambulatory, community-based setting where a board-certified local area physician supervises students.
(Instructors and credit units to be arranged)
Physicians of northwest Indiana participate in offering fourth-year elective courses at St. Catherine, St. Margaret Mercy Healthcare Centers, Methodist (Northlake and Southlake), St. Mary Medical Center (Gary and Hobart), St. Anthony Medical Center and Porter Memorial hospitals, and Our Lady of Mercy hospitals in collaboration with the School of Medicine—Northwest Campus and the Indiana University School of Medicine. Those courses cover medical subspecialties including internal medicine, inhalation therapy, cardiac catheterization, clinical nephrology, obstetrics and gynecology, ophthalmology, pathology, psychiatry, radiology, surgery, and general emergency care.
(Instructors, courses of study, and credit hours to be arranged)
Since the School of Medicine—Northwest Campus faculty also hold appointments in the University Graduate School, graduate programs for the M.S. or the Ph.D. degree are offered in cooperation with the basic science departments of the Indiana University School of Medicine. Most course work and all research leading to an advanced degree can be completed on this campus. Graduate students select courses from the medical school curriculum and/or advanced graduate courses offered by the respective basic science departments. Interested students are encouraged to contact the office of the director.
For additional information concerning Indiana University School of Medicine—Northwest, please visit our Web site at iusm-nw.medicine.iu.edu.