1. There are many opportunities for observerships in first and second year. Almost all physicians in the London/Windsor area are excited to have students join them in the hospital. On observerships, you could be doing anything from just observing a physician to participating in surgery–it’s all dependent on how comfortable you and your supervising physician are. We have two half days of class per week – hypothetically you could do 2 observerships per week if you wish to do so!
2. Our curriculum integrates small group, experiential, case-based and lecture-based learning methods. Moreover, the primary focus of everything we learn revolves around the patient – from our patient-student interactions in Patient-Centered Clinical Methods (PCCM) to small group discussions in Patient-Centered Context: Integration & Application (PCCIA). Both these courses begin right from first year.
The bulk of our curriculum learning takes place in “blocks,” which means that we are only in one course at a time; first year begins with Introduction to Medicine (ITM), which is six weeks long. This year, Blood was after ITM and it was followed by Infection and Immunity (I & I). Generally, block assessments consist of our PCCIA grade, an assignment mark, final at the end of the block, and final at the end of the semester. Each block has a second exam at the end of the semester. So this year we ended our last block with four finals: Blood, I & I, Epidemiology, and Ethics. As with medicine, there are always exceptions (and acronyms) – Epidemiology and Ethics are courses that last for the duration of the academic year and consist of one lecture per week, and an assignment and exam each semester. This year, Schulich Medicine introduced a Service Learning component into our curriculum. As medical students, it is our duty to give back to the community and learn from and reflect on our experiences.
In summary, our curriculum is divided into blocks with Epidemiology or Ethics lectures throughout the academic year. Most students really appreciate the block approach to learning because this design really focuses our lectures and studies on one subject. In addition, the block style learning naturally promotes some redundancy in all lectures within the block which helps to reinforce important concepts.
3. Best Curriculum On Earth (BCOE). Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s curriculum design ensures that we have the BCOE through organized surveys and student discussions. Usually ten students meet at the end of each block and discuss the pro’s and con’s of the course and make recommendations to the administration which are taken seriously and often implemented.
4. Western University has excellent libraries and study spots on campus. There is a dedicated and private computer lab (VERC) and study room for all medicine and dentistry students right beside our lecture hall! In Windsor, we have a new, state of the art medical building, with ample study space in small-group rooms (equipped with TVs).
5. Discovery Week is a week long placement in a rural community in Southwestern Ontario. This provides some excellent hands-on experience and realistic exposure to rural medicine.
6. Each lecture is videotaped and posted online as a podcast if you miss a class!
7. Western University has recently constructed one of the best fitness facilities in North America. There is an arena, Olympic size pool, squash courts, large and small gymnasia, weight and cardio room etc. This provides a great intramural sport experience. Check it out! There is also an Interclass Hockey League (ICHL). This co-ed, rec league is for anyone interested in playing hockey regardless of experience and skill level. The league is non-competitive and for those who love hockey at heart, or those who have yet to discover that hockey is, indeed, a part of his or her heart! Each class has one or two hockey teams who play against each other one evening per week. The season ends with play offs and there is also a Schulich Medicine Hockey Tournament.
8. The Dr. Murray O’Neil Medical Education Centre in Windsor was constructed in 2008. We have a living wall, spacious small group rooms with TVs (great for study breaks), a virtual anatomy lab (with a giant TV, that is great for video games / movies), lecture halls with ample space, and a high-tech anatomy lab which even has windows!
9. Scholarships and Financial Aid. From their website: “If your dream is to have an influence on Canada’s health care as a physician, the costs should not limit your dreams.”Western University provides needs-based scholarships, privately-funded bursaries, and institutional bursaries to help you offset the financial cost of your education, which include:
- Over 3.5 million dollars in bursaries
- 204 Needs-Based Scholarships at a total value of $1,842,954 (including 60+ Schulich Medicine Awards which provide students in the greatest need with $25,000 in each of their 4 years to cover tuition and other expenses)
- 130 Privately-Funded Bursaries equaling a total value of $168,400
10. The best class ever! The morale is always high and we function as a family. We learn from our mistakes and celebrate our achievements.