The Medical School is looking for a few more teachers for the upcoming school year — but they don’t need to have a medical or scientific degree. They don’t need to be experienced professors. And they don’t even need to be adults.
Instead, the dozens of teachers U-M seeks must have a different kind of experience: living with a serious or chronic illness. And just like any teacher, they must be willing to share the knowledge that comes from that experience with their students, to help them prepare for their future careers.
The patients form the centerpiece of the Family Centered Experience, a unique course that all U-M’s first- and second-year medical students have taken since 2003.
U-M is one of the few medical schools in the nation with such an intensive course involving students and patients exploring the “human side” of medicine.
For patients, the teaching position doesn’t come with a paycheck. But it does come with the satisfaction of helping U-M medical students see a patient as a whole person, and help them better understand how illness affects daily life.
To be eligible, volunteers must have a chronic medical condition that significantly impacts their lives on a daily basis and requires them to make regular doctor visits. This can include ill children and teens, whose parents consent to take part. They must also live within 30 miles of Ann Arbor.
Each volunteer — and his or her immediate family or other supporting individuals — commits to mentor the same pair of students for at least two years, and share stories about their illness and their life during visits to their home.