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Academic house, medical marijuana ahead for Medical College of Georgia

Thursday, May 1, 2014 5:57 PM
Last updated Friday, May 2, 2014 2:53 AM
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With one of the largest medical school classes in the country, instituting Hogwarts-style “houses” for incoming students and across classes should allow students a greater sense of camaraderie and class interaction, the dean of the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University said Thursday.

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Medical College of Georgia Dean Peter F. Buckley delivers his annual state of the school address at Georgia Regents University's Lee Auditorium.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Medical College of Georgia Dean Peter F. Buckley delivers his annual state of the school address at Georgia Regents University's Lee Auditorium.

In his annual State of the College address, Dr. Peter F. Buckley said the 10th-largest medical school this fall will begin randomly assigning first-year students to one of 20 “academic houses,” along with second-year students, with third- and fourth-year students invited but not required to participate.

Jokingly comparing them with the school houses at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter books, Buckley said the units of up to 40 students with two academic advisers would serve some important functions.

“It allows each class to learn from each other sequentially but also to have greater interaction – professional interaction as well as social interaction,” he said. “This is our way of continuing our commitment to being a growing medical school but also continuing our one-on-one contact and interaction with our students.”

The houses also would provide social opportunities and more chances for mentoring and community involvement through activities such as service projects.

With campuses in Rome, Athens, Savannah, Brunswick and Albany listening in to his address, Buckley touted the school’s greater involvement in statewide activities and plans to work with other academic institutions for greater research. The school recently improved from 71st to 66th in funding from the National Institutes of Health (out of 139 medical schools). Also, it is taking a statewide lead in pushing for trials of a marijuana-derived oil for children with untreatable seizure disorders after the Legislature failed to act and Gov. Nathan Deal called on it to help, Buckley said.

“This is an example of the kind of work that we can be doing that is helping the people of Georgia and helping our governor when he asks the state’s medical school to stand up and help him,” he said.

The school has been in touch with British manufacturer GW Pharmaceuticals and is waiting for it to begin two trials in children with a particular seizure disorder, said Dr. Yong Park, the director of the pediatric epilepsy program at GRU. With all things considered, though, it might be next year before clinical trials will come to Georgia, he said.

“Hopefully, it goes smoothly and then, hopefully, we can start on it next year,” Park said. “We are working on it now.”

Buckley is even more optimistic than that.

“Dr. Park may be right, but equally my goal is pushing to have this happen this year,” he said. “We’ll see. We’ve got to do it the right way. Quite frankly, the families have waited a long time. They’ll want us to get it right rather than to rush something.”

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Riverman1
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Riverman1 05/02/14 - 05:09 am
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Do these Hogwarts-style

Do these Hogwarts-style “houses” use existing facilities or are we talking new construction? Is the word "house" symbolic only?

Bizkit
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Bizkit 05/02/14 - 07:15 am
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These aren't freshman college

These aren't freshman college students-they already have that degree. They are more mature medical college students that a social environment is the last of their concerns (you have little social life in medical school anyways as too busy studying all the time-well unless they have watered down the curriculum from the past) so many are married and really don't want a frat house but a place of solitude they can study. I understand this for undergrad but this seems ill founded.

Edward1968
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Edward1968 05/02/14 - 07:53 am
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Animal House?

That was what I first thought of when I read that.

MCG has had medical fraternities with houses back in the 60's I know. I think the houses are a good idea and have the potential to help many students by the mentoring aspect. I just hope they can use some existing structures and not have to build more. There's a nice house on Milledge Rd. with an art studio/garage and pool that could be used.

Bizkit
35738
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Bizkit 05/02/14 - 08:12 am
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Another clueless student

Another clueless student mentoring another clueless student. I can see studying together in groups-that has always been the case. But if you are familiar with the Note takers they sometimes make mistakes, and students would learn material incorrectly because of a student peer. Yep they fired bad Note takers. Practicing physicians have little time for mentoring now cause they are too busy typing into electronic medical records.

karradur
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karradur 05/02/14 - 08:31 am
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Alohomora!

What a whimsical, terrible idea!

thauch12
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thauch12 05/02/14 - 09:25 am
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_system

It has nothing to do with physical buildings, at least here. It is just a fancy name for mentoring, but I foresee them having a hard time getting 3rd and 4th years to be a part of these "houses" because those students are longer in the classroom. The idea is not necessarily "clueless" students mentoring others (after all, these are medical students who have already demonstrated that they are marginally intelligent people by virtue of the fact they were admitted to an institution that is statistically harder to get into than Harvard Law School) but moreso for upperclassmen who have learned the material to help underclassmen.

Will it work? Who knows, but it certainly cannot hurt. My undergraduate residential college (the equivalent of a house) was a wonderful community and it encouraged me to make connections beyond students in my year. At the very least, I don't foresee this costing a significant amount of money and if even a couple of students benefit from it, it may be well worth it.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 05/02/14 - 10:28 am
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Wow I have a bunch of family

Wow I have a bunch of family members who graduated from MCG-I'll tell them they could have gotten into Harvard easier. I don't know four years of college in no way really prepared my wife. My wife made straight A's in college-med school was another beast altogether getting that MD. She has to stand alone usually to make critical decisions of her trade-we don't always call our friends and ask for advice-but that does happen on occasion. Further not all students are equal ,no matter intellect, with an aptitude for medicine and diagnosing patients. Seems mentoring could enable poor students to take the easy route of asking their smarter buddy rather than dig and become a better student. This trend of problem solving as groups is being adopted by educators everywhere. "The group" can solve problems no doubt but it isn't the whole group that usually solves a problem. Our social nature of agreeing with the first good idea could also squelch other ideas before they get a chance to be fully entertained.

Tom Corwin
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Tom Corwin 05/02/14 - 12:28 pm
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Riverman, Bizkit, etc.

These are mostly virtual academic houses, although they may have a dedicated room in one of the buildings for their meetings. This will not require new construction. This idea has been used successfully at a number of other medical schools and seems to be very popular with those students. Bizkit, I am not sure when your wife went to medical school but the emphasis now is on team-based learning and that includes other disciplines within the field. Part of the new Education Commons building that will open this summer is an interdisciplinary simulator that will allow medical students, nursing student, respiratory therapy students etc., to run cases together,

Riverman1
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Riverman1 05/02/14 - 02:38 pm
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Thanks for clearing that up.

Thanks for clearing that up.

Esctab
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Esctab 05/02/14 - 03:05 pm
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To Edward1968:

I like your ideas on reusing the existing structure on Milledge Road!
Far better than its current use!
Very creative thinking Edward1968!
Lets send the GRU bus over there to move out the current occupants.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 05/02/14 - 03:21 pm
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Virtual housing with no

Virtual housing with no cost-that's great. I am reading up on student performance since the transition from traditional lecture to team based. My wife went to school before that was implemented. She had to endure much longer hours etc that now is legally prohibited. I like the idea of mixing of disciplines simulator-now that is a good idea.

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