The 9th Annual Prague Selective came to a close on July 28, 2006, and the 120 first- and second-year medical students from around the world returned home from the Czech Republic. These students studied medicine for three weeks in Prague – gaining a unique clinical experience in this beautiful eastern European city.
This popular clinical Selective, an SGUSOM course registered with the International Health Medical Education Consortium, has become the largest of its kind in the world.
Its founder and dedicated director is Martin Stransky, MD, SGU ’83, who began the Selective with the goal of enhancing and broadening the thinking process of future physicians at a crucial stage in their training. Entitled “Introduction and Exploration of Issues in Clinical Medicine,” the Selective, according to Dr. Stransky “should not be approached as a third year clinical experience, but rather as a cultural, ethical, and educational experience.”
Instructed by 40 local faculty members and physicians, the students spend mornings rotating in clinics and hospitals, where they are able to scrub into surgeries and see first hand the way hospitals operate in a different country. In the afternoon, the students attend academic seminars conducted by medical professionals; these seminars are structured to allow the students to learn how to think about cases and medicine in general.
One of this year’s highlights was an afternoon session with the American Ambassador to the Czech Republic, William J. Cabaniss. At the end of the course, the students take an exam, and, upon successful completion, they receive credits on their medical transcripts.
Half of the 120 students were from St. George’s University. Others came from as far away as Tasmania. Many were from US medical schools, including SUNY Upstate, SUNY Downstate, SUNY Buffalo, University of California at San Diego, and Dartmouth. There were students from Puerto Rico and Canada as well.
“We had a huge amount of press coverage this year, more so than in previous years,” Dr. Stransky said. “The program is growing so much each year that we’re planning on expanding it to other cities in the Czech Republic next year. We had more than 100 people on the waiting list.”
“Word of mouth and recommendations is what has made the Prague Selective so popular,” Dr. Stransky said. “Feedback from students has been positive over the years and this is what makes the program so successful.”
Published on 08/15/2006