Most traditional medical schools are anchored by an academic medical center. Such centers are valuable, but their patients usually have exotic diseases, not those a typical physician encounters in daily practice. Also, faculty members at medical centers are often so busy running their practices that they have little time to teach.

For those reasons, the Florida State University College of Medicine was structured much differently. It focuses on educating outstanding physicians for practice in community settings. Therefore, community-based clinical education spans the four-year curriculum. Our students don’t learn in one teaching hospital; they learn in more than 90 medical facilities in communities across the state.

During the first two years, students’ clinical education takes place in physician practices in the Tallahassee area, as well as in the medical school’s Clinical Skills and Simulation Center. In the third and fourth years, students complete their required clinical rotations at one of our regional campuses in Daytona Beach, Fort Pierce, Orlando, Pensacola and Sarasota, as well as one in Tallahassee (distinct from the main campus). There are also rural training sites in Marianna and Immokalee. The clinical training program extends into hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, managed-care organizations, private clinics and other outpatient settings.

Throughout their four years, students benefit from a well-structured continuum of education in the biomedical, behavioral and clinical sciences. Subjects such as anatomy and pathology are presented in a clinically relevant context using medical cases, as well as the latest educational technologies. Problem-based and small-group learning experiences help students develop their clinical acumen and learn to work as a team.

The curriculum is comprehensive, preparing students for any medical specialty and setting. Course content reflects the college’s mission, with special attention given to primary care, geriatrics, cultural diversity and the needs of underserved populations. In addition, concentrated learning opportunities are offered for those students interested in rural health. All courses make use of the latest instructional technology, and medical informatics is integrated throughout the curriculum.