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Preparing Students for Tomorrow’s World

Ensuring that medical education keeps up with the rapidly changing health care industry is top of mind for Rush leaders. From enhanced simulation training to active learning techniques, Rush prepares for its own transformation as it ushers today’s students into a new era of health care. K. Ranga Rama Krishnan, MB, ChB; Henry P. Russe, MD, Dean, Rush Medical College Senior Vice President, Rush University Medical Center (left), shares his thoughts on evolving medical education at Rush. 

How is Rush changing its approach to medical education?

We’re really re-evaluating what we deliver, how we deliver it and what we think a student in tomorrow’s world would look like. Orienting our mission and vision toward the future, getting the students to become lifelong, team-based learners and shifting into more personalized curriculums are all key components. Significantly expanding our campus’ simulation training is also part of our plan to build a campus that is strongly centered on applied learning for both our students and workforce.

How does this change the way in which medical students learn?

In today’s world, you need to know how to continue to learn all the time and where to find the information, now that it’s all at our fingertips. Instead of rote memorization, we want to help our students become active learners — to be able to think creatively and critically, while also working effectively in teams. And most important, we want to train them to take what they learned and apply it. Students learn best when they ask questions, and deep explanations lead to a much longer retention of knowledge and better understanding.

How is Rush training students to become active learners?

It’s incredibly important to know where our knowledge ends and at what point we have to generate new knowledge to find an answer. With the active learning approach, students are listening to lectures at home and processing the information on their own before being tested through group exercises in the classroom. This helps them learn to think out loud, explain themselves and ultimately apply it to their work. There’s a lot of data and science behind this learning method, including the fact that many of these students perform better on their licensing exams and ultimately are better-prepared doctors. 

What role does Rush play in the bigger picture of medical education transformation?

We truly want to create an integrated, lively, intellectual, social and cultural environment that distinguishes Rush for excellence in learning and lifelong student and professional engagement. And it’s all really interconnected. We’re not going to change health care — or poverty or any larger universal issue — if we don’t change health care education.

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