Texas Student Doctor: July 2011

News from the TMA Medical Student Section


TMA Foundation Funds Student Community Projects 

Each year, the Texas Medical Association Foundation (TMAF) invites proposals from eligible applicants for a grant to fully or partially fund a TMA medical student chapter project that focuses on antitobacco education and tobacco cessation projects. Projects that focus on health issues other than tobacco will be considered, but a high priority is on tobacco-related programs to coordinate with TMA's expanded focus on this health concern.  

2011-12 TMAF Medical Student Community Leadership Grant Request for Proposal (RFP) 

Matching grants of up to, but not exceeding, $3,000 per project will be available. TMAF requires reasonable evidence from the applicant organization that it either has or plans to provide funding from its own or other resources equivalent to or greater than the amount being requested from TMAF in this RFP.  

The proposal deadline for the 2011-12 program is 5 pm on Aug. 1. The TMAF Board of Trustees will review and act on the proposals at its Oct. 21 meeting.  

For more information on this funding opportunity or to receive a printed version of the application, contact Sean Dunham at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1664, or (512) 370-1664, or by email at sean.dunham[at]texmed[dot]org. 

  Top of page 

Changes to MCAT Recommended 

Future physicians may take a different test to get into medical school than you did. A special committee of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) recommends major changes to the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) to more closely align its subject matter with the science knowledge needed to practice 21st century medicine. 

But while the proposed new MCAT increases the emphasis on biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology, it also sharpens the focus on critical analysis and behavioral and social sciences that affect the more human side of medicine.   

Under the recommendations, the MCAT would still have four main sections:   

  • Molecular, cellular, and organismal properties of living systems; 
  • Physical, chemical, and biochemical properties of living systems; 
  • Behavioral and social sciences principles; and 
  • Critical analysis and reasoning skills. 

The first two sections are largely adapted from the current MCAT, although some of the science would be updated with more emphasis on biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology. A verbal section that had been part of the test will be transferred to the critical analysis section, and a writing section is being scrapped in favor of the behavioral and social sciences section. 

Even some medical students say the test likely needed changes to more accurately reflect what is now being taught in medical school. "I'm not convinced the MCAT is an accurate measure of ability to succeed in medical school," UTMB student Rachel Marinch said in a story in the July issue of Texas Medicine. "While I believe in the need for a standardized test, I think the MCAT does not necessarily focus on the right areas."   

Supporters of the recommendations say the proposed new test broadens the material premedical students need to be exposed to as undergraduates and helps prepare future physicians for the increasingly complex role they will play in medical care.   

"The preliminary recommendations of the MCAT Review Committee mark an important transition," said Steven Lieberman, MD, vice dean for academic affairs at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. "They represent, both explicitly and implicitly, a broadening of the competencies needed to be a physician beyond the 100-year-old science-heavy model. This is an important recognition of the increasing complex roles of physicians."  

While Texas medical school admissions officers appear to support the proposed MCAT changes, TMA's Council on Medical Education has yet to take a position on them. 

Top of page 

Getting Personal   

Personal qualities, in addition to academic achievement, are important in determining who will succeed in a career in medicine, the American Medical Association says. 

At the annual AMA House of Delegates meeting in Chicago last month, AMA adopted policy to work with organizations and medical schools to encourage improved assessment of personal qualities in medical school applicants, review the ways in which medical schools communicate the importance of personal qualities among applicants, and continue research on the personal qualities most pertinent to success as a medical student and as a physician.   

The house adopted the policy at the recommendation of the AMA Council on Medical Education.   

A report from the council said educators and the public "agree that being a 'good doctor' is more than academic achievement and other measures of intellectual ability. There have been calls for a more 'holistic assessment' of medical school applicants to include a wider variety of personal qualities, such as altruism, motivation for medicine, dedication, and intellectual curiosity, in the admissions process."   

It added that a study of academic affairs officers and admissions officers "identified the most important attributes required for student success in medical school, including integrity, motivation for a career in medicine, and reliability. And, it said, "research underscores the importance of finding ways to measure personal qualities. For example, a retrospective look at physicians sanctioned by state medical licensing boards for various types of professional misconduct showed a high correlation with similar behaviors during medical school." 

To read the entire report, log on to www.ama-assn.org/assets/meeting/2011a/tab-ref-comm-c-addendum.pdf (PDF).  

 Top of page 

Texas AMA MSS Leaders 

Abhinav Khanna, a second-year student at Baylor College of Medicine, is the new AMA Medical Student Section Region III chair; Mary McFarland, a second-year student at Texas A&M University Medical School, is the new Region III Community Services Chair; and Rikki Baldwin, a second-year student at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, is the Region III Membership Chair. 

 Top of page 

TMA on Facebook and Twitter 

For more inside news about TMA events and issues, become a fan of the Medical Student Section on Facebook.  

You also can stay up-to-date about Texas medicine by subscribing via RSS to Blogged Arteries, which provides breaking news you need to know, and by following @texmed on Twitter.  

Top of page 

Back Issues of Texas Student Doctor  

Return to Publications Main Page  


Last Updated On

May 13, 2016