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Promoting appreciation of the study and practice of medicine: inner workings of a Mini-Med program

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Jacob Jay Lindenthal,1 Joel A DeLisa21Department of Psychiatry, Institute for the Public Understanding of Health and Medicine, 2Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, USAAbstract: Dissatisfaction with the restrictions of the health care system, diminished reliance on the word of health care professionals, increased costs of medical care, and access to information online have increased consumers' interest in their own health care as well as their thirst for medical literacy. Mini-Med programs run by medical schools offer a more reliable method of learning about disease and disorders than does the indiscriminate surfing of the Internet. This article describes the efforts of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – the largest public university of the health sciences in the nation – to run and maintain such a program. The Mini-Med course provides lay students with insight into what a student undergoes while studying medicine and guides them through complex topics that range from anatomy and basic life support to the latest in stem cell research. It also provides early guidance for potential medical students, addresses patients' concerns, and gives some insight into the levels of comprehension of current medical students.Keywords: Mini-Med program, medical education, consumer education, health literacy

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