"Some are aged before they are old. Some are old, but they are not aged."
- Ignatz Leo Nascher, M.D., 1914
Welcome to the companion Web site of UC Davis Health System's acclaimed educational program to teach the marvels of healthy aging.
Since 2002, UC Davis has opened the doors of its School of Medicine each winter and spring to give an opportunity for area individuals to attend classes focused on normal human aging and avoidance of the diseases we associate with aging. Classes are taught by top academic physicians and scientists, and instruction is at the level of a first or second year medical student.
Although the program is ideally geared for the foresighted middle ager and novice senior, there are no age limits for Mini Medical School. "Students" have ranged from their twenties to nineties, and have included curious younger individuals and vigorous older adults. The common bond is a passion for understanding the science of aging well.
In ten hours of concentrated and interactive classroom learning over five consecutive Saturday mornings, the myths about aging - that aging somehow hurts, or that we become witless, sexless curmudgeons in our oldest years - are shattered. Students learn the difference between “usual” aging and normal, healthy aging. Students learn about the extraordinary knowledge we have gained through a half century of eye-opening studies of how our organs and minds change with time.
There has never been tuition to attend Mini Medical School. But we do ask for commitment. Students must physically attend all classes to earn their diploma (yes, there is a graduation ceremony). More importantly, students must bring their curiosity, enthusiasm and willingness to share their life’s experiences. And “old age jokes” must be left at home.
Mini Med classes are held on the main UC Davis campus in Davis (between the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento), and some years on the Sacramento campus. Classes may seem technical at times, and are not for the squeamish; a lecture covering cataract surgery means showing cataract surgery. “Aging and Medical Science” is not a health fair. It is medical school.
The most common question from our students is whether there is a final exam. The answer is "Yes." However, participants in this school will not learn their grade for twenty or thirty years.
This website is intended to give you a sample taste of our Mini Medical School and its unique focus on the modern science of healthy aging. We will be adding content in the coming months. We do hope it whets your appetite for more.
Michael K. McCloud, M.D.
Creator and Course Director