Novel Methodology for Recruitment of High School Students to Health Professions

John Gaspich, Lindsay Buzzelli, Michael Flanagan, Mark Stephens, Maryanne Neal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Medical schools are creating programs to introduce careers in healthcare to students at earlier stages in their education. At the Penn State College of Medicine University Park Regional Campus, we have created and implemented a novel improvisational, case-based, small-group learning curriculum for high school students to introduce integrative thinking in basic and clinical sciences and to cultivate an early interest in health professions careers. The program also includes elements of health systems science and humanities. A multidisciplinary team of educators with both secondary and post-secondary pedagogical expertise worked together to develop a longitudinal case-based curriculum suitable for high school students. This curriculum was administered to a group of 40 students in grades 9-12. At the start of each session, students were challenged to explore personal biases, reflect upon ethical dilemmas, and to step outside their comfort zones with “centering exercises.” Through these activities, we strived to challenge the learners’ preconceptions about their colleagues, medicine, and their role within it. Students were then presented with a case as a large group. At critical junctures in the cases, students worked in small groups of 8-10 with 1-2 medical student facilitators to discuss questions and solve clinical dilemmas associated with the case. Early feedback from students and faculty advisors has been overwhelmingly positive. The authors have no conflicts of interest.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Regional Medical Campuses
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 14 2020


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