On-line medical education? Distance learning?....now the technology is here to learn how to remove an embolus while laying around in your underwear at the comfort of you own home!! Hmmm...methinks one should be very very weary of programs such as this. These guys just might take the money and run. Nice swimming pool though, if they have a 10 meter diving board and girls serving rum and cokes scantaly clad while I'm running through histology slides SIGN ME UP!!
There are several schools in Poland and throughout Eastern Europe that are inexpensive and easier to get into. Go to ValueMD Forums to learn about them...or maybe you can get informatoin on them through thses forums. I wouldn't trust distance learning though lol.
Just in response to the distance learning... I'm pasting a copy of a Boston Globe article from July 2003 (the link no longer works, or I would post it, too). Not sure that I would be want to attend med school via the web, but interesting that US schools have put thought into the concept.
From The Boston Globe
July 30, 2003
For aspiring doctors, the first half of medical school is both hard and messy, as they dissect human cadavers and practice giving physical exams to classmates.
But soon medical students at Brown University in Providence could study medicine for two years without getting near a cadaver, a fellow student - or even Providence.
In what may be the most extreme example of the trend toward Internet-based education, Brown and a worldwide group of medical schools are collaborating to build an ''International Virtual Medical School,'' allowing students to begin work toward a medical degree thousands of miles from a classroom.
''I've come to believe that e-learning is a powerful way to deliver science material,'' said Stephen R. Smith, associate dean for medical education at Brown University, who designed the curriculum. ''It could be used by a nurse or somebody who just wants to keep their day job,'' though it is designed with traditional students in mind as well.
The Internet has given rise to a whole new category of higher education in the past few years: ''distance learning,'' in which students can earn a law degree or study art via computer. But medicine, the domain of the ''healing hands,'' has remained a staunchly in-person enterprise.
As computers become better at simulating the human body, however, the medical field has begun to embrace them as a training tool. Surgery residents at Brigham and Women's Hospital use computer tutorials for test prep, and nurses studying for advanced degrees at the graduate school affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital take a few classes online.
For Brown and the 38 other institutions in the collaborative - including the University of Michigan, the University of Queensland in Australia, and the University of Hong Kong - a major goal is to replace the conventional lecture-and-textbook approach of medical school, which Smith calls ''dehumanizing.'' The new curriculum emphasizes problem-solving over memorization, and, because it would rely heavily on computers, could be used both on campus and off-site.
Supporters also see broader potential in long-distance medical school. Doctors from poor communities, they believe, would be more likely to practice medicine at home, where they are needed, if they haven't been forced to relocate for four years.
Even in more developed areas, educators worry that there won't be enough doctors in 20 or 50 years to serve an aging and growing population. Building new medical schools or opening new campus slots is expensive and slow, said Dr. David Blumenthal, director of the Institute for Health Policy at MGH.
''Online education is going to expand the capacity of medical schools to produce physicians,'' said Blumenthal, who is not involved with the project.
The virtual medical school project, known by the acronym IVIMEDS, is based at the University of Dundee in Scotland. Along with a grant from the Scottish government, each institution has given $40,000 to the project, but the group expects it to cost several million dollars to complete.
If it works, students could pass their first two years of medical school in large part by completing a series of computer assignments. They would then, like all medical students, finish by spending two years doing hands-on clinical work in a teaching hospital.
Brown became involved when the project's Scottish creator approached Smith at a conference and asked him to design the curriculum. He came up with the idea of basing the whole program around a ''virtual practice,'' where students would be presented by the computer with patients whom they have to treat.
In Smith's prototype, one ''patient'' is George Farmer, who gets jabbed in the leg with a rusty nail while mending his fence. First he just needs a tetanus shot and antibiotics, but he comes back the next week complaining about the state of his farm and wondering if his family would be better off without him. So the student must examine him for depression.
When students present their diagnoses, the computer will provide some automated feedback and direct the students to background reading. Faculty will also closely monitor students' performance, Smith said.
Even with realistic scenarios, Smith says there are limits to how much a student can learn online, and the program addresses that. In another simulation, the ''patient,'' Harry Fixx, is an HIV-infected heroin addict, and the student is required to find real drug treatment programs nearby.
Students would interact over e-mail or on discussion boards, Smith said, and might volunteer in local clinics or hospitals.
The program will be used first on campus at some of the project's partner schools, which also include Wake Forest University in North Carolina, the University of Florida, the University of Miami, and West Virginia University.
Brown plans to pilot it with a small group of students a year from now. If it goes over well, Smith said, Brown might make IVIMEDS its regular curriculum. The next step would be enrolling long-distance students.
Critics will inevitably say that medical school and distance education shouldn't mix, said Brownell Anderson of the Association of American Medical Colleges.
''My questions arise around the interactions where students are learning clinical skills, and how that can be done in a virtual way,'' said Anderson, but she added an enthusiastic note: ''When virtual cases are well done they can be phenomenally real.''
Some observers point out that online education is an extension of trends already underway in medical school. The use of cadavers to study anatomy, for example, is being phased out in some medical schools in favor of three-dimensional computer modeling.
''A lot of my friends don't go to class,'' said Jyothi Nagraj, a second-year student at Brown Medical School. ''They get the book and sit at home and read.''
Nagraj likes the idea of making medical school available to people in different walks of life, but she also said some of her most important experiences have been the kind she couldn't imagine having online. ''The wonder of holding someone's brain in my hands made me think about my role as a doctor in a very different way,'' she said.
Then there's the question of working and commiserating with classmates. ''A big part of med school is the camaraderie,'' Nagraj said. ''You're always talking about, `My God, this person's life is going to be in my hands, and what if I can't handle it?'''
This sounds absolutely crazy. They find the first two years of classroom and textbased learning - dehumanizing....but sitting in front of a computer isn't? I hope this is a passing bad idea....I wouldn't be very comfortable with a doctor who did their medical education via distance learning.
I'm all for the idea of educating people in underserved areas, but I think one of the biggest factors working against them is not relocation, but rather the costs of medical education and lack of resources early on to get them on the track for medical school. Is Brown going to reduce their admission standards and tuition for these rural students?