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Office of Educational Affairs

Under the direction of Terry Wolpaw, MD, MHPE, Vice Dean for Educational Affairs, the Office of Educational Affairs oversees the continuum of medical education and training at Penn State College of Medicine, including programs in undergraduate and graduate medical education; a physician assistant program; educator training programs; and continuing education programs for providers.

We strive to create a contemporary model of medical education with the goal to graduate the most compassionate and competent clinicians possible.

Through a carefully designed curriculum, a blend of instructional methods, and the use of educational technologies, these “master clinicians” are taught to deliver outstanding care to their patients, trained to advance the science and practice of medicine, and educated to direct their learning throughout their professional careers. 

Through these efforts, we have achieved high accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the nationally recognized accrediting authority for medical education programs leading to the MD degree, and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the nationally recognized accrediting authority for post-MD medical training programs within the United States.

Our work has made us a national leader in the pursuit of scientific investigation and the development of programs to advance medical and scientific knowledge.

By contributing to the education of tomorrow’s health professionals, we hope to ultimately improve the health of the public and advance the practice of medicine.

Meet the Educational Affairs leadership team

Mission

We provide both leadership that creates educational opportunities and supporting structures that maximize our ability to provide a premiere educational program. We seek to maintain an organizational infrastructure for teaching, evaluation, and educational research that aligns with our educational mission and our standards for academic achievement.

Principal Goals for Undergraduate Medical Education

  • To impart the essential knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that will lead to success in graduate medical education training and clinical practice.
  • To matriculate and retain the best-qualified applicants for careers in medicine.
  • To diversify the student body to reflect the society in which we live.
  • To assist students in obtaining financial aid and identifying resources to meet their financial obligations.
  • To identify student applicants with qualities that will lead them to choose a career in primary-care disciplines, and provide a curriculum and environment that will stimulate students to choose careers in primary-care medicine.
  • To provide an appropriate academic environment that encourages students to match their interests and talents with societal needs in making career choices.
  • To help meet the national need for more clinician/investigators by identifying and assisting students who have the aptitude and motivation for a combined MD/PhD program, by promoting the MD/PhD program, and by encouraging extramural financial support for this research-training program.
  • To develop the students’ appreciation for the scientific method in biological research and its application to the critical thinking process.
  • To support excellence in faculty development and postgraduate residency training programs which enhances the educational environment for the medical students.
  • To sensitize students to the importance of ameliorating pain and suffering, and promoting the well being of patients.
  • To encourage students to volunteer in community-service activities and provide a forum for these students to share their experiences with other members of the institution.
  • To foster the development of the students’ humanistic behaviors and attitudes.
  • To meet the standards for accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.

Medical School Objectives

Physicians must demonstrate altruism. Graduates will demonstrate an understanding of the following characteristic that will enhance their effectiveness as physicians:

  • Compassion for patients
  • Sensitivity and commitment to patients’ or families’ feelings, needs, or wishes that are in keeping with ethical practice regardless of one’s own preferences
  • A commitment to advocate at all times for patients’ interests over one’s own interests, market forces, societal pressures, administrative exigencies, or financial gain
  • A commitment to advocate for patients within the healthcare system
  • Integrity
  • A commitment to provide care to patients who are unable to pay and to advocate for access to health care for underserved individuals and populations
  • The ability to assist patients or families with ethical decisions when requested based on a knowledge of ethical decision making and major ethical dilemmas in medicine including those that arise at the beginning and end of life and those that arise with new technologies and advances

Physicians must be knowledgeable. Graduates will demonstrate:

  • Knowledge of the normal structure, function and development of the human body
  • Knowledge of the molecular, biochemical, and cellular mechanisms, as well as the integrated operation of organs and systems regulating homeostasis and organs and systems underlying the pathology of disease
  • Knowledge of the therapeutic principles underlying the prevention and treatment of disease
  • Knowledge of the processes to gather and organize information relevant to clinical problems
  • Knowledge of scientific methods to investigate the causation of disease and evaluate efficacy of traditional and non-traditional therapies
  • Knowledge of the important non-biological determinants of poor health and of the economic, psychological, social, and cultural factors that contribute to the development and/or continuation of disease
  • Knowledge of the appropriate modalities to relieve pain and suffering
  • Knowledge for promoting, maintaining and improving the health care of the individual and the population
  • Knowledge of the neural mechanisms underlying perception, motivation, memory, and other key behavioral functions
  • Knowledge of how human genetic content, information flow, inheritance, and variation serve as a context for disease
  • An understanding for the need to engage in lifelong learning

Physicians must be skillful. Graduates will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Perform an appropriate history (complete or focused) and physical examination of patients
  • Formulate an appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic plan for specific patients
  • Perform diagnostic and therapeutic procedures
  • Interpret the results of common laboratory and radiology tests
  • Effectively communicate with colleagues and consultants, members of the health-care team, patients, and their families
  • Incorporate quantitative and qualitative methods to carry out biomedical research projects
  • Critically evaluate the medical and scientific literature to make appropriate patient-care decisions

Physicians must demonstrate professionalism. Graduates will demonstrate:

  • Responsibility in treating patients and interacting with other health-care professionals
  • Truthfulness in representing actions and information
  • Exemplary standards of ethical conduct
  • Realization of self-limitations and strives for self-improvement
  • Decision-making based on behalf of the patient and independent of self-interest
  • Attitudes, character and spirit of the medical profession
  • A capability to effectively function in environments that are emotionally charged and filled with uncertainty
  • The ability to effectively function as a member of the health-care team
  • Empathy
  • Initiative