Originally published March 28th, 2017
This week I am very excited to introduce you to faculty member Corrin Sullivan, Ph.D.
As our director of curriculum, Corrin is responsible for the management of all curriculum associated with student interactions as they progress through their four years at UNLV School of Medicine.
Corrin views her role as a "day-to-day operations manager" where she will ensure the curriculum functions smoothly, faculty and students possess the materials they need to succeed, and issues that may arise are resolved swiftly.
As important as these daily duties are, the primary role of Corrin's job is to understand and monitor each component of the student experience. A student's four year plan requires cohesion, clarity and a regular progression of the education program that meets each session's learning objectives, course objectives and overall program objectives.
Delving deeper into the student experience - from the classroom, to the laboratory, to the clinical setting - Corrin tracks these outcomes to ensure we are teaching required elements and that the courses are completed logically and cohesively. This process ensures the students' medical knowledge builds across their four years of education.
Finally, in addition to mapping every hour of every student's day through this important process, we are then able to evaluate overall student and faculty successes at the conclusion of major curriculum milestones. Possessing this data allows us and the students to adjust and make improvements where needed for their optimal future success.
Corrin's role in the School of Medicine functions around two valuable areas of creating a smooth path to success for students and faculty, and meeting the curriculum standards required by the LCME accrediting agency.
The school's major curriculum milestones include the following
- Immersion and emergency medical technician training and certification, occurring during the first six weeks of instruction;
- Foundations of medicine, which is taught during the first 18 months. This is when we introduce the scientific basis of medicine in a series of written patient cases that describe a clinical presentation of a disease problem. Students then study the case and disease mechanisms in small groups, and use the case to learn the basic scientific underpinnings, to incorporate other societal/contributing factors, and to come up with appropriate diagnoses and treatments;
- Longitudinal integrated clinical experiences occurring during the third year of the curriculum when students see patients in a clinical outpatient setting under the supervision of faculty members;
- Fourth-year inpatient experiences and electives designed to support each student's career choice.
While studying for her master's degree and Ph.D. as a full-time student at the University of Washington in Seattle, Corrin earned a tuition exemption by working in the School of Medicine in various temporary roles. As opportunities came open, she rotated through departments, including admissions, the registrar's office, student services, regional affairs, evaluation and assessment, and finally curriculum.
Working in many different operational facets at the University of Washington School of Medicine provided Corrin an unique comprehensive knowledge of how a medical school functions. As a result, she's become an invaluable asset to UNLV School of Medicine when it comes to developing and documenting our curriculum.
At Washington, Corrin's Ph.D. in higher education policy, organization and leadership focused on how little medical education has changed since the Abraham Flexner report that was published in 1910 - a historic report that resulted in medical education shifting from an apprenticeship model to a more scientifically-based and educational curriculum.
Since the Flexner report was published more than 100 years ago, there has been relatively little progress in medical education. Yes, we have seen growth in the importance of full-time faculty and the clinical practice plan that supports their salaries, as well as research growth and a movement from individual basic science courses to an integrated organ-system model of teaching. Otherwise, though, there has been some resistance to change in how the model of medical education is delivered to students.
With that in mind, it is the goal of the UNLV School of Medicine to take a more progressive approach to how we deliver medical education to our students. Because we desire to build a curriculum that will address what we believe will be important issues in medicine, we must teach our students in a new way so they will be best prepared to practice in the future.
This new approach was what made the UNLV School of Medicine appealing to Corrin. The other? She wanted to come home.