FAQ

WHY IS THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA SCHOOL OF MEDICINE PURSUING A LONGITUDINAL COMMUNITY CURRICULUM?

The Tuscaloosa Regional Campus leads the University of Alabama School of Medicine in addressing the need for a change in undergraduate medical education. Robust and growing research on the effectiveness of LICs has added to the rapid expansion of the model across the United States, Canada, Australia and elsewhere. TLC² also responds to the School of Medicine’s mission to address the primary care and community physician needs of the region.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES TO MEDICAL STUDENTS?

TLC² uniquely prepares students to provide and appreciate comprehensive and continuous care of patients over time. LIC students become self-directed learners, more patient-centered and have a more expansive clinical experience than students in traditional clerkships. Flexible scheduling enables students to accompany their patients to specialty care and in both ambulatory and inpatient settings, and promotes sustained community engagement and scholarly research.

HOW DOES TLC² COMPARE TO THE STANDARD UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA SCHOOL OF MEDICINE CURRICULUM?

TLC² students meet the same learning objectives, have the same required patient encounters, are graded using the same metrics, take the same standardized exams and have the same opportunity to earn honors as all University of Alabama School of Medicine students. TLC² students obtain these competencies over the entire third year instead of in separate blocks.

WHAT DO RESIDENCY DIRECTORS THINK ABOUT STUDENTS WHO COMPLETE A LIC CURRICULUM?

Experience shows that students who complete a LIC curriculum are attractive residency candidates. Because of their long-term teaching relationships with LIC students, faculty can write personal and effective residency letters of recommendation based on first-hand knowledge of student growth and progress. LIC students graduate with strong, self-directed learning skills, better understand patient management and the consultation and referral system, and can effectively utilize community resources.

WHAT TYPE OF PATIENT POPULATIONS WILL STUDENTS WORK WITH?

Students see patients of all ages with medical needs across the spectrum of traditional and sub-specialty disciplines.

HOW ARE PRECEPTORS AND SITES SELECTED FOR STUDENTS?

Determining placement sites for students is a thoughtful, individualized matching process. Locations and principal preceptors will vary from year to year, and include University Medical Center in Tuscaloosa and rural towns and urban communities around the state. With years of experience running community-based family medicine and rural rotations, Tuscaloosa faculty use an extensive network of preceptor relationships and work with students to identify sites and preceptors that fit students’ personalities and needs.

ARE OTHER MEDICAL SCHOOLS USING THIS TYPE OF CURRICULUM?

Yes, some schools have been teaching this way for decades, and in the last five to 10 years many more schools, both in the United States and elsewhere in the world, have adopted longitudinal integrated clerkships (Brown University, Harvard University, University of California San Francisco, University of Wyoming, Texas A&M University and Duke University, to name a few).

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