College and House program to offer mentorship and support

July 9, 2015

Getting into medical school is just the start; ahead lies a long and arduous path of stressful examinations, hospital rounds and complex medical procedures. As medical students further their education, they may lose sight of the original motivation and enthusiasm that propelled them down the health care path. Students at the IU School of Medicine are working to support learners through these challenges as part of a “College and House” program.

College and House is a set of learning communities supported by the Medical Student Council. It mirrors the structure of the Mentorship and Advising Program which will be known as MAP, led by Medical Student Education. The program features a house-based mentorship system to address both student engagement and student wellness.

Aligning College and House with MAP was inspired by Vanderbilt University School of Medicine’s Advisory College Program. Other medical schools have adopted similar systems, including Harvard, Stanford and Northwestern University.

College and House is designed to unify the nine IUSM campuses across the state by placing students in regional colleges based on the campus where they start their medical education. The campuses are grouped based on geographic proximity. Within each college, there will be three distinct houses.

The IU School of Medicine College and House student mentoring program is supported by the Medical Student Council. | Photo By OMEED MALEK

“Each house will be equipped with a lead advisor from MAP as well as set of student leaders,” Medical Student Council President Dessi Moneva, a fourth-year medical student, said. Additionally the houses will provide new roles for both faculty and alumni looking to guide students throughout their medical education.

“College and House will create environments for peers to relate with one another, seek help from their house advisor and peer mentors, and get involved in community outreach activities,” Moneva said. “Our goal is to strengthen student relationships and improve mental and emotional health within the student body.”

MAP complements College and House by offering a more structured advising program than what students have seen in the past. Students will have access to experienced faculty advisors and career mentors that will help them navigate their coursework, develop career goals, explore research opportunities, and discuss specialty options. Ultimately, MAP will enable students to make professional networking connections.

While College and House is still in its infancy, its efforts have not gone unnoticed, garnering the attention and support of many faculty and staff.

“We have refined our program to meet learner needs in a substantive and measurable way," Abigail Klemsz, M.D., associate dean of academic advising and associate professor of clinical pediatrics, said. "Ultimately, we want to demonstrate that these relationships, and the time invested in them, are benefiting our students and thus, patient care.”

Medical Student Council looks forward to initiating the program in August 2015, after “sorting” both the incoming class as well as current IUSM students into their respective Colleges and Houses.