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M.D. Program

M.D. Program

Clinical Education and Assessment Center

The mission of the Clinical Education and Assessment Center is to provide opportunities for realistic and outstanding clinical education that lead to safe, high-quality, patient-centered care.

The Center is located in a state-of-the-art clinical skills facility where we collaborate with faculty to apply expertise, advanced technology, and standardized patients to teaching and competency assessment.  Our staff includes course coordinators for the Doctoring 1-4 curriculum and standardized patient trainers.

Standardized Patient Program

Standardized patients (SP) are actors who have been carefully trained to portray a patient scenario during an encounter with a learner.  The SP roles may be simple (a patient who comes to the clinic for a routine physical), or quite complex (a patient who is dying of cancer).  Students interact with the standardized patients in small group settings and clinics, under the supervision of experienced clinicians.  This provides a safe environment for students to practice the skills necessary to manage a medical encounter without the stress, fear, or anxiety inherently present at the beginning of such learning.  The learning is experiential--stimulated by interactions with the standardized patient and feedback from faculty and peers. 

If you are interested in serving as a standardized patient, please call us at (916) 734-5201.  Our standardized patients include people from all age groups.  Acting experience is desirable, but people with stable clinical findings (such as a heart murmur) who do not have acting experience are also needed. 

Medical Student Clinical Performance Assessments

The Center works with medical school faculty to develop methods of assessing clinical skills in a controlled environment.  The encounters are videotaped, and standardized patients are trained to observe the students’ technique and give appropriate feedback to the students.  Examples of methods that are used in the medical school curriculum are summarized below.

Year 1

End of Block 1 Exam
  Students demonstrate physical exam skills on each other, and are
  evaluated by a faculty member.

 End of Block 2 Exam
  Students meet with a Standardized Patient (SP) and take a history    and perform a physical exam. The standardized patient scores the  
  student and provides feedback.

Year 2

Clinical Practice Exercise, Block 3 or 4
  Students meet with a Standardized Patient and take a history and    perform a physical exam. The SP provide feedback.

Objective Structured Clinical Exam, Block 6
  Students rotate through a “Clinic” in the center, meeting with     several SPs, taking histories and performing physical exams.    Student also present their findings to a faculty member. The     standardized patient and the faculty score the student and provide    feedback.

Year 3

Clinical Performance exam
 Students rotate through a “Clinic” in the center, meeting with several SPs, taking histories and performing physical exams. The SP scores the student. Students return to view the video of their interactions, and develop an action plan to improve their clinical skills. Finally, students meet with a faculty member to discuss their performance and personal action plan.