May 20, 2019By Dr. Kim Baily

New Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine and Simulation Center Coming Next Year

In August 2020, Kaiser Permanente is opening a new medical school in Pasadena, California via the School of Medicine (KPSOM) which will will focus on the use of Medical Simulation. The KP group has dedicated themselves to building a medical school informed by the groundbreaking technology and practices of Kaiser Permanente’s integrated healthcare system—one of the highest-performing healthcare organizations in the world. Today we take a closer look at a medical school built from the ground up, using the best evidence-based educational approaches to develop a state-of-the-art school on the forefront of medical education.

The school has met all necessary LCME accreditation requirements for new schools and has received approval to enroll students for the Class of 2024. After reviewing modern medical educational methods, the school planners intend to use the most up-to-date educational strategies. The traditional cadavers and dissection labs are to be replaced by holograms, plastinates and 3D images. Medical Simulation, virtual reality and standardized patients are all part of the curriculum.

The KPSOM offers a spiral curriculum, using a case-presentation and small-group pedagogy designed to provide students with a solid understanding of the biomedical, psychosocial, and professional foundations for the practice of medicine. Didactic education during the first two years is clustered into three areas, Biomedical Science, Clinical Science, and Health Systems Science. Clinical experiences begin immediately in the first few weeks with weekly clerkships in primary care and community settings. This early exposure to clinical experiences is part of a Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (LIC) model which includes patient caregiving experiences in each of the six core clerkship specialties (Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Surgery).

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Students learn core skills by following panels of patients over time, while maintaining one-on-one relationships with a physician preceptor. Students observe patients through the entire care continuum, including diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up. Students will experience the more traditional block rotations in Years 3 and 4 for advanced clinical experiences. The final year includes immersive experiences in the specialty area chosen by learners for their continued residency education. Interprofessional education, another key component of the program, focuses on interdisciplinary experiences between healthcare professionals. In addition, courses are offered in learner wellness and lifelong learning skills

Simulation Lab

The 15,000 sq ft KP Medical School Simulation Lab includes simulated clinical areas, task trainers spaces, interprofessional training areas for nursing and pharmacy, standardized patient examination rooms and a homecare theater. In addition, the simulation lab will include spaces dedicated to virtual reality, procedural practice rooms, 5 debriefing rooms and 2 control rooms. Planned simulated clinical areas include labor and delivery, operating room and ICU labs. Medical education faculty will come from the current 22,000 practicing SoCal medical staff. The simulation center will have a part time medical director, administrator, SP trainer, and simulation tech. Simulation is integrated throughout the program.

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Since the first 5 cohorts will receive a free education, competition for the 48 places will likely be extremely high. Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine will consider applications from U.S. citizens, permanent residents of the U.S. (green card holders), and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in the U.S. or Canada.

Dual Degrees

Students will have the opportunity to study for additional degrees during their 4 year MD degree. These degrees include a doctoral program through the California Institute of Technology: Doctor of Philosophy (MD, PhD). Students will typically perform summer research rotations at Caltech before, during, and after the first two years of medical school at the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine. Subsequently, they will carry out their doctoral degree work in any of the multiple areas of research offered at Caltech, ranging from bioengineering and biochemistry to computational and neural systems. A master’s degree program is also available. A master’s degree typically involves an extra year between the final two years of medical school, with additional part-time commitments in the third and/or fifth year, depending on the program. Degrees offered include Loyola Marymount University (LMU): Master of Healthcare Systems Engineering (MD, MS) and University of California Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health: Master of Public Health (MD, MPH)

Kaiser Permanente’s new School of Medicine provides a unique opportunity to rethink medical education from the ground up. Innovative curriculum design and advanced technology including simulation should make a significant contribution to the way doctors are educated.

Learn more about the New Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine and Simulation Center!

Today’s article was guest authored by Kim Baily PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, previous Simulation Coordinator for Los Angeles Harbor College and Director of Nursing for El Camino College. Over the past 16 years Kim has developed and implemented several college simulation programs and previously chaired the Southern California Simulation Collaborative.

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