Blogside Manner: A Sneak Peek Into Medical School

The Alpert Medical School entrance in all of its glassy glory.
The Alpert Medical School entrance in all of its glassy glory.

Hello! I’m Lulu, a member of the PLME class of 2018/2022, and I am the writer for Blogside Manner. In this column, I will talk about the ins and outs of PLME life at Brown and, of course, the dreaded application process. Whether or not you decide to ultimately apply for PLME, I hope to help provide you with a better sense of what Brown is all about!

Hiya! I hope you have been staying warm with all of the snow that’s been happening. Only a few short weeks until decisions come out, so I hope all of you have taken some time to relax a bit! Today I will be talking about another great opportunity that comes with being a PLME: pre-clinical electives.

What is a pre-clinical elective? It is basically a chance to take a low workload medical school elective and learn cool things about the medical field. Typically these electives don’t last the entire semester (most are generally 6-8 weeks from what I’ve seen). These electives do not count as a full class for undergraduate PLMEs per se (as in, you can’t use them for your graduation requirements), but you can put them on your transcript if resume padding is in order.

In addition, first and second year medical students are also allowed into these electives, meaning the classes tend to be small yet diverse. Most importantly, these classes are very hands-on in their approach to teaching; all of them are taught by real physicians or other members of the medical community and typically involve some kind of integrative project to help put concepts into practice.

Though I ultimately did not taken any of these classes this year, I did shop all of the electives from both fall and spring semester and have heard great things from other PLMEs about the classes. So here is a sample of what came up this academic year in terms of topics covered by these electives.

  1. Intro to Patient Safety and Quality Improvement

“First, do no harm” is more or less the most fundamental principle for physicians to follow, and yet, the third leading cause of death in the US comes from preventable medical errors. Through a combination of case-based discussions and team activities led by attending physicians, nurses, and administrators, this elective teaches about important safety issues and points of improvement in treatment administration (as well as prepare you for board exams, clinical rotations, and residency, though that is a bit far off for all you rising first-years).

  1. Classroom Connections

Because one of the most important roles of a physician is to educate patients, this preclinical elective was designed to integrate teaching with medicine with a focus on food allergies. One of the goals of this class was to design an interactive lesson about food allergies to school aged children with help from a variety of professionals that often deal with allergies such as emergency medicine physicians, pediatric allergists, and school nurses and people from Brown’s Education Department.

  1. Introduction to Multidisciplinary Fetal Medicine

Fetal Medicine is a pretty new branch in the medical field and involves a variety of people such as obstetrics, neonatologists, pediatric surgeons, geneticists, radiologists, and many other clinicians. This elective teaches about treatment, diagnosis, and how technology has impacted this field. Brown is one of the very few medical schools that offers this type of class, and it is definitely a really cool one!

  1. Integrative Medicine

This elective bridges the gap between medicine we commonly associate with hospitals and other forms of medicine such as Traditional Chinese Medicine. The focus is on an ecological model of human health and illness and encourages mixing ways of thinking from the field of alternative medicine.

  1. Science and Power

Medicine is arguably the intersection of all areas of human life: science, religion, culture, economics, and politics all influence medical practices. This course discusses how medicine is influenced by all of these factors with a focus on health science, ethics, and power to answer questions such as how to improve health at local or national levels or how do corporate interests influence medicince?

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Email me at or comment below! I’ll make sure to respond as soon as I can!


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