SHAPE: UT Southwestern, Houston, Austin Professional Education


UT Austin
UT Southwestern Medical Center
UT Health Science Center - Houston

Program Description

The University of Texas at Austin will collaborate with UT Health Science Center Houston Medical School and UT Southwestern School of Medicine, to create a seven-year course of study that reduces the traditional undergraduate and medical professional times-to-degree by one year each, and adds a "flex year" during the years in residence on a health campus that will enable intensive study and enhance professional development.

The undergraduate curriculum, innovative in design, will focus on content which is relevant to the student's medical school success, eliminating redundancy and irrelevant content. This rigorous, competency-based science curriculum will be complemented by seminar courses with content provided by the very best faculty at all three participating institutions.

Participants will attend two summer Medical School immersion experiences hosted by UT Southwestern and UT Health Science Center - Houston. These experiences will occur between undergraduate year 1 and 2 and between undergraduate year 2 and 3.  Content for these four-week programs will include academic and clinical experiences and will provide the student the opportunity to learn more about medical school culture.

Students will participate in special seminar courses which are designed to engage the student in an interactive manner on a variety of topics. Exposure to clinical and scientific research ethics, health care administration, the legal and political environment of medicine, the significance of social and cultural context, and the impact of public health, are just a few examples. These courses will be taught by faculty from the three participating institutions and will occur during each regular semester.

The medical schools will develop innovative curricula that reduce the length of the current medical school program. For example, redundancies in the undergraduate science and preprofessional curricula will be eliminated so that students will not duplicate core undergraduate science coursework in medical school. Faculty from the academic and medical campuses will work jointly to develop competency-based advancement tools.

A unique aspect of this proposal for honors students is the opportunity to create a "flex year" at the medical school devoted to scholarship that furthers the medical student's career or academic interests. The flex year will allow completion of honors research or thesis requirements, engagement with a real-world problem that relates to a student's interdisciplinary preparation, or progress toward an additional degree. The timing of the flex year will vary depending on the programs and partners, but its intent is to produce physician-leaders dedicated to scholarship and professional development.

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