Helping teach about Acromegaly at the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical School through Problem Based Learning (PBL)

From J D Faccinetti, cofounder – My yearly encounter with JMP medical students was last week. This was my 5th consecutive year presenting an acromegaly patients case study at the UC Berkeley/UCSF Joint Medical School program.

The UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program trains future physician-leaders and equips them with deep understanding in the social, behavioral, ethical, and human aspects of medicine.  This is truly is a unique project where sections of the curriculum consist of students reviewing cases based on real patient experiences and then have an opportunity to meet that person.

Acromegaly is one of those cases, and students get to review mine. At the end of the study segment, I make a presentation about my experiences with the disease, participate in an extensive question and answer session, and talk to them about PWN and the importance of awareness and early diagnosis. This is, by far, one of the most rewarding projects I have ever been involved in my entire career as a marketing research and communications professional, and now as a publisher.

My view of why this type of hands-on medical education and the reason why we are involved in it is pretty simple: once a medical student sees and interacts with a person with acromegaly they will never fail to recognize it. At the very least, when they become physicians, if they see any of the signs, they will suspect it and put it on their list of possibilities. Our mission is, through awareness and information, to reduce the number of years it takes to diagnose these rare pituitary conditions, and by doing so improve patients’ quality of life.  Expanding our involvement in programs like the JMP is a key component to the fulfillment of our objectives.

In their website, the JMP describes Problem Based Learning by explaining that students follow their curiosity “engaging in vigorous research while learning and teaching each other the foundations of medical science and hands-on clinical skills training. JMP students not only learn the material, they also learn to think deeply and creatively, solving problems, working in teams, integrating new knowledge into complex systems, and retrieving and synthesizing information as doctors from the first day of class.”  Click here to read more about PBL.

If you’d like to read more about this innovative program, please see this link. If you’d like to learn more about our plans to get involved with medical schools around the country and the world please drop us a line by clicking on the “contact us” button or sending a comment through our social media channels.

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