The Capstone Project
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How do we meet society's needs for medical care while addressing the challenge of medical student debt?
Introducing the Capstone Project - an exceptional experience for every medical student
Society expects that medical schools contribute to discoveries that improve health care. At the same time, medical students often receive the MD degree, burdened with crushing debt. The Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine leadership has invested decades in medical education. We have found medical students to be bright, idealistic, and dedicated. How do we channel this creativity, energy, and dedication into meeting society's needs? We designed a unique Capstone experience.
Every medical student at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine engages in a 4 year long Capstone project. All worthwhile projects begin with preparation, so our Capstone begins in the first year of medical school with the following themes:
- A six week introduction to the medical literature. How is it organized? How can it be mined? How can a physician or researcher assess the validity of a publication? How does one use the literature to develop evidence - the basis for clinical care? How can one identify conflicts of interest in publication? What constitutes plagiarism?
- A four week introduction to the electronic medical record as a research tool to develop evidence-based decisions. Students at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine will learn how to use the electronic medical record for health care practice in their second year before beginning clinical clerkships.
- An eight week introduction to the clinical trial. How do researchers and front-line clinical practitioners ask critical questions? How are clinical trials designed and conducted? What are the ethics of clinical trials? How does the institutional review board work? How can physicians work with industry to safeguard against conflicts of interest?
- Rotations through advanced research laboratories. What is the role of advanced imaging and microscopy in research? How do genomic and proteomic approaches influence the development of advanced diagnostics and therapeutics? How can an advanced biobank interface with the electronic medical record so that every physician - regardless of specialty of location of practice - play an active role in improving health care?
Students can select projects
The projects can be in one of our advanced research labs. The projects can be linked to one of the more than 800 ongoing clinical trials at Beaumont Health System.
Or the projects can go beyond the lab and the hospital to meet society's needs. For example ...
Introducing the special Capstone-linked scholarship
If a medical student selects a project with high scientific or social impact - and the student makes substantial progress with the project by the third year, then the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine plans to award supplemental scholarship support to these students for the fourth year of study as a reward for "doing the right thing" and "doing the right thing well".
Why are we doing this?
We believe that if our students spend four years of their medical education invested in activities with high impact activities - and are rewarded for their engagement with supplemental scholarships - they will likely continue on these paths. We anticipate that our graduates will be exceptional and that each of our graduates will have an exceptional impact on the patients and communities that they serve.
For more information about the capstone project, please email email@example.com and place "capstone" in the subject line.
Robert Folberg, MD