Amidst the relentless demands of medical school, one of the unique experiences the UNLV School of Medicine has built into the curriculum is the Intersessions program. The Intersessions are eight, weeklong courses that give students a mental and physical break from the rigors of the core medical school curriculum.
Learning all the anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, etc. needed to become a physician is an important and daunting task. If a student has not mastered the material presented in the previous curriculum module, they will have a week to review, learn, and retake the examination related to it.
Intersessions give students a different way to learn material presented in the preceding weeks and provide an avenue to explore topics not often presented in medical school.
Mark Guadagnoli, PhD, Director of Learning and Performance, whose background is in performance improvement, leads the team working on the Intersessions and describes them as "a celebration of personal and professional growth, designed to broaden the students' perspectives with challenge and application."
Each week has a theme and addresses a wide variety of topics, including anthropology, bioethics, entrepreneurship, the history of medicine, hospitality, humanism, global health, law, nutrition, psychology, cutting-edge science, and more. Here are a few of the themes:
- Medicine with an Edge: Military, wilderness, performance, and emergency medicine
- You 2.0: Optimizing your personal and professional life
- Back to the Future: Medicine past, present and future
- WOW: A proactive strategy to personal health and wellness
- Social Challenges: Addiction, human trafficking, homelessness, mental health and nutrition
- Do the Right Thing: Ethics and adversity in medicine
- Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll: Festival medicine, hospitality and culinary
Presentations will be set up like TED talks, which are short dynamic presentations geared toward presenting information as succinctly as possible. After each presentation, time is allowed for actual learning application and hands-on experience.
Medicine with an Edge Week
To give you a better idea of an Intersession week here is a draft schedule for Medicine with an Edge.
Each Intersession taps community experts, such as Dale Carrison, MD, chair of emergency medicine at the University Medical Center (UMC), who will lead the discussion on Special Ops and Wilderness Medicine. Dr. Carrison brings years of experience to share with UNLV School of Medicine students in the field of emergency medicine. He also is a physician for Metro's SWAT team, and medical director for Burning Man, the Electric Daisy Carnival and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Other speakers include Lt. Colonel Brian DelMonaco, MD, United States Air Force, who is a special operations physician; Matt Horbal, MD, UMC, who specializes in the unique aspects of wilderness medicine; Emergency Physician Jordana Haber-Hazan, MD, UMC; and Annie Weisman, PhD, Director of Wellness and Integrative Medicine and Mark Guadagnoli.
The Intersessions also will help the students learn how to stay healthy, both physically and mentally, which are
essential to becoming a physician. We think in the long run this type of learning will help our students achieve their full potential as physicians.