Inaugural Medical School Class Marches On
Forty-nine students graduated as part of the charter class of the nation’s 136th medical school, University of South Carolina (USC) School of Medicine Greenville. Using the phrase “a new school of thought” to guide development, the medical school has created a unique curriculum (see next article) that trains physicians to participate and lead in the transformation of healthcare delivery.
More than 70 percent of USC School of Medicine Greenville students are from South Carolina; almost half will continue their medical training in the Palmetto State. These members of the Class of 2016 made history three times before walking across the stage during their May 6 commencement ceremony.
- This class was the first to enter USC School of Medicine Greenville and the first to graduate with accredited medical degrees.
- Class members amassed an unprecedented 100 percent match for their residency placement on the first attempt, surpassing the national match average of 94 percent on the initial try.
- Greenville Mayor Knox White proclaimed May 6 to be USC School of Medicine Day.
To see and learn more about this extraordinary class, click on these links:
A New Script: Exercise IS Medicine
Exercise is Medicine is a 12-week program in which patients receive customized exercise routines and ongoing emotional support from specially trained fitness professionals. Patients are “prescribed” into the program by their doctor and can participate at any YMCA of Greenville site or the GHS Life Center® Health & Conditioning Club. The program is a partnership with GHS, YMCA of Greenville, University of South Carolina (USC) School of Medicine Greenville and the American College of Sports Medicine.
For students at the medical school, exercise physiology and exercise as medicine are taught across all four years as a requirement. They learn the mechanistic aspects of prescribing exercise—such as how exercise affects each organ system—along with behavior change. That way, students can serve as models for this innovative concept.
“We model it within the curriculum as a requirement from day one,” said program pioneer Jennifer Trilk, PhD, assistant professor of Physiology and Exercise Science at the school. Dr. Trilk tells her students, “You are your first patient. You have to stay healthy in order to keep your patient healthy.”
Lessons are based on standardized models and adapted to increasing physical activity levels: moving patients from one stage to the next. Dr. Trilk has created a classroom-community model by partnering with GHS and its many physician offices to add U.S. physical activity guidelines into the electronic health records of the system. Doctors are required to ask patients how many minutes a day or days a week they exercise, for example, and then enter the response into the patients’ electronic medical records—as a vital sign comparable to blood pressure or cholesterol.
Medical students and Greenville doctors can track patients’ exercise frequency along with chronic, lifestyle-related disease markers. They electronically refer them, as needed, to Exercise is Medicine care coordinators who work with patients on increasing their physical activity.
Currently, four GHS practices are participating in the program. Expansion to other GHS practices is planned.
Find out more here.