Reeves spoke to the Noon Optimist Club on Monday.
“Traditionally a third-year medical student would spend eight weeks in different studies. They would spend eight weeks in surgery, eight weeks in orthopedics, and so on. We’re not going to do that,” Reeves said.
He said the program would instead follow something he called a “longitudinal integrated curriculum.”
“We will have 10 students and instead of them following a doctor for eight to 10 weeks, they’re going to follow a patient for one year,” he said.
The would-be doctors will get to know the patients by attending each medical appointment with them, from a routine checkup to a major surgery.
“If a woman begins going to the gynecologist for prenatal visits, that student is going to follow her through the entire process and when the baby is born he will be in the delivery room and he will follow the baby to the nursery,” Reeves said.
Students will still spend half a day in the same core areas as traditional medical students; they will just gain more experience getting to know a patient, Reeves said.
“Students won’t just be studying for one exam after another. They will have a panel of patients that are theirs and they
will be faced with it every day,” he said.
Reeves said other schools, such as Harvard, have already moved to the integrated curriculum.
“In all the workshops I go to the big question has become how do we teach compassion? This is how, they get to know the patients,” Reeves said.
While the Northwest Georgia Clinical campus won’t be a traditional brick and mortar campus, it is slated to be up and running by 2013.
“I wanted it to be ready by 2012 more than you will ever know,” Reeves said.
Until 2013, Reeves and others are busy developing a curriculum, building a faculty and obtaining accreditation.