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Notice for Medical Student Small Group Facilitators

Facilitators Needed for Medical Student Small Groups

The Alumni Association has been approached by Andrew Adler MD ‘72, Associate Director of Clinical Skills for Foundations. He asks our assistance in identifying retired or semi-retired Downstate COM alumni who might be interested in serving as small group facilitators for first or second year medical students.

Currently, there are 16 small groups in each of the first two years with 12-13 students in each group. The faculty believes that the current group size is too large and, ideally, should not exceed 10 students in each group. To accommodate these smaller groups, four additional facilitators per year would be needed for a total of 8 new facilitators. Apparently, the COM does not have the resources among the active faculty to achieve this goal and therefore seeks volunteers among the alumni.

The groups focus on clinical skills including medical interviewing, clinical reasoning and ethical principles. Each small group meets once a week, usually for 2 hours but occasionally for 2.5 hours for about 30 weeks. First-Year students meet on Mondays either from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm or 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm and Second-Year students meet on Tuesdays during the same hours.

Initially, Dr. Adler or one of the other faculty in the Education Office meets with new facilitators for 1-2 hours before the year starts to provide orientation.

In addition, regular weekly one-hour sessions for facilitators are held at 1:00 PM, Monday or Tuesday, depending on whether the small group is first- or second-year. These meetings provide the opportunity to debrief about the current week’s session and offer guidance on conducting the following week’s session.

Time Frame for Facilitators:

First year (Foundations 1) begins in early to mid August 2018 and ends early to mid-March 2019. Second year (Foundations 2) begins at the end of March, 2018, breaks in May and restarts in August ending in mid-February 2019.

Preferably, facilitators each participate for the entire 30 weeks. (This schedule may be adjusted as necessary). Dr. Adler recognizes that this represents a major commitment of time for any alumnus. However, he believes that, for the right individuals, this close interaction with students is likely to be a personally rewarding and eminently gratifying experience.

If you would consider becoming a facilitator or would like to learn more about the experience, please contact Dr. Andy Adler at or call 718-270-1425. Please note that email is the preferred method of communication.

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