Advisory Dean Program
University of Rochester medical students arrive from diverse origins to join a profession with shared values: Compassion, learning, investigating, and uncovering the secrets of health and illness in understanding the care of patients. This is an exciting transition, but it may also be challenging. In an effort to ease this transition and to enhance a supportive learning environment, Rochester has incorporated an innovative model of student advising. The Advisory Dean program at Rochester is designed to enhance the personal and professional development of medical students throughout the course of their undergraduate medical education.
This program helps facilitate the many transitions that students face during their medical school tenure, including college student to medical student; classroom to clinic office; medical school to residency. Regular small group and individual meetings with an advisory dean help to foster relationships and ultimately assist in each student’s growth and development in medicine. Advisory Deans work to help students identify and access the resources available for academic, career and personal counseling.
First-year medical students have individual meetings with their Advisory Dean soon after classes begin—a chance to get to know each other. Informal small group lunch meetings are held on a regular basis during the 1st and 2nd years of medical school. These meetings are designed to foster open discussions of special issues facing medical students today including transition to medical school, ethical issues in clinical medicine and biomedical research, and the changing health care environment. One of the goals of these discussions is to help foster professionalism in our students. Additionally, these meetings give students a direct opportunity to express their experiences in the curriculum and at the school.
During the 2nd year of medical school, students continue small group lunch meetings and also have a scheduled individual meeting with their Advisory Dean at the end of Year 2. This meeting reviews results of the Comprehensive Assessment and address plans for their clerkships and electives in the final two years of medical school.
Small group meetings in the third year incorporate case-based discussions of ethical dilemmas that students have encountered. Through Advisory Dean facilitated peer discussions, individual students are able to better understand their responses to clinical situations and how their professional development may be shaped by those around them. Career advising continues in both small group and individual settings with the advisory deans.
In the final year of medical school, Advisory Deans focus their efforts on the individual student needs. Career advising, including preparation of the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (Dean’s Letter), residency applications, and assistance with the transition to residency are the central focus of the Advisory Dean system in Year 4.
The ability of Advisory Deans to get to know students on a personal level throughout their tenure in medical school is invaluable. This trusting relationship has enhanced students’ personal and professional development into physicians.