The Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University (CCLCM) graduated its inaugural class of physician-investigators on Sunday, May 17, as part of Case Western Reserve's Commencement ceremonies.
This first class of graduates was awarded an "M.D. with Special Qualifications in Biomedical Research" from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
The Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine was established in 2002 with a $100 million gift from Al and Norma Lerner. The college is a partnership between Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve, offering a unique medical school experience focused on producing physician-investigators and scientists. The first class of physician-investigators was enrolled in 2004.
"We are proud of this inaugural class and look forward to their continued success," said Pamela B. Davis, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the School of Medicine.
James B. Young, M.D., executive dean of the CCLCM, echoed those sentiments. "The success of the Class of 2009 validates our unique and innovative model of medical education," said Young. "I am proud of our dedicated and highly-skilled students, faculty and staff who are committed to the education of the physician-researchers of today and the future."
The graduates will conduct research to further understand diseases and discover new treatments. The five-year program incorporates research throughout and lays a foundation for translating discoveries from the lab into treatments for patients. With less than two percent of active physicians pursuing careers involving research, graduates will address the increasing shortage of physician-investigators in the United States, ultimately improving patient care and expanding biomedical research.
The student-centered curriculum is designed to achieve those goals through such unique offerings as clinical experience with patients in the students' first year; an additional fifth year for research; and educational portfolios instead of traditional grades. In May 2008, the college announced full-tuition scholarships for all students as a way of decreasing the burden of tuition-related debt.
"There is a growing need for more physician-investigators and scientists who can conduct hands-on medical research be that at the patient bedside or in the laboratory," said Young.. "Our student-centered curriculum is an investment in the future of medicine and cultivates exceptional students who will bring discoveries from the lab to patient care."
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