With high ranking officials addressing the medical students in Prague this summer, the seventh annual Prague Selective was more outstanding than ever. The Czech minister of health, Dr. Jozef Kubinyi, led a two-hour discussion one afternoon during the three-week selective, and the U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic, William J. Cabaniss, talked to the students adding to the prominence of the program.
The Prague Selective, the most popular selective in the School of Medicine, brings medical students from St. George’s University and other U.S. medical schools to Prague for three weeks of medical training in the Czech Republic. The students spend three weeks in hospitals in Prague under the tutelage of the local faculty and physicians.
The goals of the Prague Selective, which was founded and is directed by Dr. Martin Stransky, SGU ’83, are: to introduce the student to clinical medicine through actual observation of various patient care settings; to introduce the student to the thinking process that clinicians use when examining patients; to introduce the student to medical care in a Central European country emerging from communist rule; and to develop and foster contacts, both locally and internationally.
Instructed by local university faculty and physicians, the students rotate each morning through hospitals, both teaching and non-teaching. “The hospitals are fantastic,” Dr. Stransky said. “The students are exposed to real clinical situations and are able to scrub into surgeries and see babies in outpatient clinics.” Two afternoons a week the students attend lectures and informal seminars, where they hear from various medical professionals and learn “how to think in medicine.”
During the selective the students learned and were exposed to many different healthcare models. In addition to learning about the Czech Republic’s system, they explored the way healthcare works in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Germany. The students are engaged in lively debate about the pros and cons of socialized medicine vs. a capitalist, market-focused society.
At the end of the program a pass-fail, oral and written exam is administered. Upon successful completion the students receive two credits for the selective. The Prague Selective is registered in the International Health Medical Education Consortium catalog as a SGUSOM course. “It’s great for St. George’s to have such a program under their registration and have students from U.S. medical schools attend and receive credit,” Dr. Stransky commented.
70 medical students were enrolled in the selective this year, 45 of whom were from St. George’s University. The other students came from U.S. medical schools, including Albert Einstein, George Washington University, UCLA, St. Louis, SUNY Upstate, and SUNY Downstate.
To date more than 500 students have attended the selective, which is the largest program of its type. The concept for the program began in 1997 when Dr. Stransky was visiting St. George’s as a lecturer. Some students approached him and asked to shadow him in Prague for a few weeks to learn about medicine in the Czech Republic and to visit the city. From there St. George’s University decided to formalize the program and the Prague Selective became official. Dr. Stransky has since developed the program into a unique experience enjoyed and embraced by students worldwide.
Dr. Stransky’s impressive medical background at Yale University, in the Czech Republic, and at St. George’s University have enabled the Prague Selective to grow into what is today with hopes of expansion in the future.
For more information on the Prague Selective, visit sgusom.hyperlink.cz and for more information on Dr. Martin Stransky, and to contact him, visit www.narodni.cz.
Published on 10/06/2004