ABOUT THE PROGRAM
History, Aims, and Structure
Medicine has an extremely strong and solid tradition in the Czech Republic, being first taught at Charles University in Prague 650 years ago. Currently, there exist elite centers of higher learning, along with medical societies such as the Purkinje Society, which provide a solid basis for further academic study. Prague itself is a leading world cultural capital.
This Selective, its syllabus and curriculum were approved by St. George’s University School of Medicine (SGUSOM) in the spring of 1998, with a pilot group of 21 students. The following year, the Selective was registered in the International Health Medical Education Consortium catalogue, making it available to medical students world-wide as a for-credit course. Today, the Selective is still registered and run through St. George’s University School of Medicine.
The Selective has continues to increase in scope as well as popularity. To-date almost 2,000 US and international medical students from 57 different medical schools worldwide (see list of institutions on our website) have attended the course. As a result of its status, the Ambassador of the United States to the Czech Republic as well as the Minister of Health of the Czech Republic are now regular participants in the program. Due to increased demand, student enrollment has been increased to 120 students.
The program will enhance and broaden the thinking process of future physicians at a crucial stage in their development by exposing them to key insights regarding how physicians think as well as how they practice in different countries.
This is done via:
- Introducing the student to adult and pediatric in and out-patient care, team discussions, teaching rounds, and patients and their care-givers. (Note: the aim here is NOT to enthrall the student with a wide variety of clinical-pathological cases or to cater to the student’s individual specialty interests, but to show the student clinical medicine as it is actually practiced in a foreign country, including routine work).
- Introducing the student to the thinking process that clinicians use when examining and treating patients. Upon completion, the student should demonstrate familiarity with this process, be able to conduct a meaningful patient interview and detail the steps needed to formulate a differential diagnosis.
- Introducing the student to medical care in a Central European country emerging from communist rule as well as to models if healthcare of other countries and comparing their strengths and weakness. Upon completion, students should be able to discuss the benefits and disadvantages of various healthcare systems, such as nationalized, socialized, and private medical care.
- Developing and fostering contacts. Upon completion, students will have interacted and compared experiences with students and physicians from different medical schools and backgrounds as well as with Czech medical students and personnel.
The Selective takes place over three weeks in July. The program is divided into morning and afternoon sessions. The morning sessions are M-Fr., from early morning till 12.30. Students are divided into groups with a max. of 8 students/group. All groups rotate through teaching hospitals under the guidance of an active physician preceptor. All preceptors are leaders in their field, and all are fluent in English. The students participate in patient exams and care, team rounds, and discussions with other students and staff. After each week, the group rotates to a different hospital.
Each group also participates in two to three afternoon seminars per week, during which principles of the history and thinking process of physicians as well as the various aspects of healthcare models are reviewed. On the last Friday, an oral and written (pass-fail) exam is administered. Complete attendance is a requirement for passing. All students fill out a questionnaire concerning their Selective experience, so that the Selective can be further improved. Student who successfully complete the Selective receive a signed Certificate of Completion and are eligible for 2 credit points to their medical transcripts per the medical school’s policy.