Dr. Deborah German, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine, spoke to family members of “our fabulous medical students” in a welcome from the medical education auditorium. “Thank you, families and friends for sharing these wonderful treasures with us,” she said.

Ten student volunteers from the college’s charter class then took families on tours of the college. The students developed a creative interactive curriculum that allowed their loved ones to see, hear and understand medical school training. “These students are your guides,” Dr. German told the families, “your experienced leaders.”

As he walked family members into the large auditorium, second-year M.D. student Bryant Lambe talked about the room’s concert-style acoustics, computer access and different sized chairs to be comfortable for the tallest and smallest of visitors.

Students Tiffany Chen and Lynn McGrath first took  a group of families on a tour of the Clinical Skills and Simulation Center. There, visitors saw a videotaped exercise in which an M.D. student interviewed a standardized patient in a simulated clinical experience. Family members learned that standardized patients are actors who receive extensive training on their “ailment,” and actually evaluate students on their physical exam and interpersonal skills. Several family members asked how they could volunteer to be standardized patients.

Down the hall, other College of Medicine families listened to the heartbeat of Harvey, a computerized mannequin who displays various conditions, including healthy and abnormal heart and lung sounds. Parents and grandparents wore special stethoscopes to hear Harvey’s internal sounds as he suffered from a heart attack and heart murmur. The group’s general consensus was “wow.” Several stethoscope users actually mimicked the sound of the heart, by saying, “bad-a-bump, bad-a-bump” to themselves as the computerized heart was beating.

When the tours were completed, family members said they better understood not only their student’s tough workload and high expectations, but also how technology and an integrated curriculum are helping train “the good doctor” in the 21st century.

“Every time I’m here, I’m even more amazed,” said Jackie Reilly, the mother of M1 student Chris Reilly, who is the recipient of a full scholarship from the Galloway Foundation.