Over the past decade, more and more medical schools have started offering outreach programs known as "mini-medical school," which include a series of medical and health sciences courses geared toward the general public. In today's Sacramento Bee, reporter Anita Creamer takes a closer look at the growing popularity of the programs and how mini-medical schools are helping empower patients. Creamer writes:
According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 70 universities in 34 states and three countries – including Malta – are now home to mini-medical schools. Nationally, the UC Davis program is one of the few that specializes in the medical aspects of growing older.
Stanford University's mini-medical program [covered] human biology. The current Georgetown University sessions deal with general medicine, including gross anatomy and hypertension. At the University of Iowa, participants are learning about cutting-edge medical research.
Further down in the story, Fred Harrold, an 85-year-old retired car dealer, talks about why he enrolled in a mini-medical school program at UC Davis:
The value for older people is, you read all of these ads for this pill and that pill ...Maybe a lot of things seem obvious to the educated person. But the doctors straighten you out on what to watch out for.
The classes don't seem dumbed down too much for the students. And the message isn't as simplistic as, 'Eat your vegetables and you'll be healthy.'
The above video features Julie Theriot, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry and of microbiology and immunology, discussing the different types of microorganisms present in the human body and their functions during the Stanford Mini Med School. Other videos organized by fall, winter and spring quarters and archived on the medical school's website. Additionally, the lectures are available on iTunes.