Medical School lecture series meets overwhelming response

Craig Gustafson

Starting Oct. 13, the University’s Medical School will, for the first time, allow members of the public to experience what it would be like to go to medical school.
Within hours of the Saturday announcement of the Mini Medical School, more than 2,000 calls flooded the Academic Health Center, quickly filling all 325 open spaces.
Mini Medical School is a free, six-week lecture series aimed at informing the public about timely science and medical issues.
The series will be held Wednesday evenings through Nov. 17 in Moos Tower.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the response,” said Dr. Greg Vercellotti, associate dean of the Medical School. “I feel badly that we can’t open it up to more people.”
A waiting list was created to accommodate the overflow of inquiring participants.
“We intend to give the sessions enough detail to satisfy those with some background in medicine and those with none,” he said.
Tucker Lebien, associate director of the University’s Cancer Center, will be presenting at the sessions. He said the response has been unbelievable.
“It’s going to be standing room only,” he said.
The question-answer portion of each session will probably be the most interesting aspect to the public, Lebien added.
“It will help them understand in more detail,” he said. “Better than an Internet site or picking up a book could ever do.”
Some of the most popular professors at the University are also involved with Mini Medical School, including 1998-99 Medical School teacher of the year, Steven Katz.
“They are the best teachers at taking a complex idea, speaking plainly about it and making it interesting,” Vercellotti said.
The University received a $10,000 grant from Pfizer Inc., a pharmaceutical company, to create the sessions.
All University physicians involved in the sessions are volunteers. The grant money was used to create a curriculum that conformed to the style a normal classroom would have. Participants are expected to take notes, and attendance will be taken.
Although the Mini Medical School is only a one-time course right now, it could continue every semester if successful.

Craig Gustafson covers the Medical School and welcomes comments at [email protected] He can also be reached at 627-4070 x3233.