From the Dean’s Desk | Our Curricular Philosophy in Action

Since the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University was founded in 2002, our curricular philosophy has remained the same: helping our students grow to become skilled clinicians and researchers, and also independent thinkers who are scientifically inquisitive, team players, lifelong learners and reflective practitioners of medicine and science who take creative and humanistic approaches to medicine.

We are privileged to witness first-hand the growth of our students throughout the five years they spend with us, and their experiences during medical school are evidence of that growth. Whether it’s having a research poster accepted to a conference, publishing an essay about a profound patient encounter or working toward reducing healthcare disparities within our community, our students are involved in meaningful hands-on experiences from the moment they matriculate to the moment they graduate.

Please allow me to share a few examples:

  • I invite you to read about CCLCM student Anthony Onuzuruike (’23) who uses art to educate his patients. Just last week, Anthony shared a story about one of his patients who did not understand their diagnosis of a herniated disc. The mention of surgery was distressing, so Anthony sketched out the cervical spine and the nerves that run alongside the spine, and he explained to the patient how the nerves can get pinched or pressed. His sketch and explanation immediately put the patient and their spouse at ease. “It was so powerful to see the relief on their faces,” Anthony said.
  • I also invite you to read about CCLCM student Darren Liu (’24) who won a 2022 VeloSano Trainee Dream Experiment Fellowship. His hope for his cancer research project is to develop more accurate therapies for some of the more common non-inherited cancers.
  • Finally, I invite you to read about a group of CCLCM students who are sharing their clinical and interactive teaching skills with sixth, seventh and eighth grade students at a local elementary school within the Cleveland Municipal School District. Their continued engagement with these young students not only offers supplemental health education that they wouldn’t otherwise get, but also gives the young students a chance to imagine themselves as medical students one day.

Of course, these are just a few of the many, many examples of how our students’ experiences are shaping them to become the skilled future physician investigators that we envisioned they would become.

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that a great deal of debt is owed to our fantastic faculty and staff, including our physician advisors and research advisors who work one-on-one with our students to help them realize their potential and ensure their successful progress through medical school. It truly takes a village.

Well before our students graduate, they make an impact on current and future patients and the community. After they graduate, we watch with pride and inspiration as they pursue purposeful careers as physician investigators, caring for patients as if they were family, contributing to the betterment of their community and reinventing the future of medicine.

Bud Isaacson, MD
Executive Dean