The conventional method for educating medical students, particularly in the third and fourth years, is the rotation: a few weeks immersed in one specialty (let’s say pediatrics) and then a few weeks spent in another specialty (let’s say gastroenterology), followed by a few weeks in another, until all of the bases — theoretically — are covered. But there has been a move toward a more holistic view of what it means to practice medicine and a more genuine understanding of what the patient is experiencing. UBC is one of the pioneers in this movement, having created a so-called “integrated clerkship” in Chilliwack that has since become a model for similar programs in five other B.C. communities. Students are assigned for a year to a family physician with both an office practice and responsibilities for patients at a local hospital, and follow patients through the health care system, supplemented by academic sessions with local and visiting specialists. So instead of seeing a patient briefly as they pass through the hospital and then perhaps never seeing him or her again, they might seen an expectant mother each week at a pre-natal clinic, help deliver her baby at the hospital and then provide follow-up exams. It can be stressful for some students, because it means learning many things at once, but it helps them see the “commonalities among all disciplines,” in the words of Mark MacKenzie, who oversaw the Chilliwack program for five years before going on to oversee all such programs throughout the province. Read more about UBC’s role in re-thinking medical education in the spring 2012 issue of UBC Medicine magazine.