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College Preparation Program: IN FOCUS Seminar

Insight into Medicine

This course provides high school students with an opportunity to critically examine what medicine is and what it means to practice medicine. By framing this course around these fundamental questions, we will explore what it means to be a medical professional, why someone chooses to become a doctor, what the path to medical school consists of, and what it is like to go to medical school. As part of this experience, students will obtain hands-on learning, including how to take a medical history of patients and take basic health measurements. We will also explore the importance of non-physiological factors (such as social, cultural, environmental) on sickness and disease. Because the practice of medicine involves critically analyzing information and working in teams, students will participate in presenting and analyzing materials from a variety of sources and working on team-based projects.

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  • Dates: June 19 - 30, 2017
  • Instructor: Sarah B. Rodriguez, PhD, Lecturer, Medical Education, Feinberg School of Medicine, and Lecturer, Global Health Studies Program, Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences
  • Enrollment Capacity: 24


This class will consist of lectures, discussion of readings and assignments, small group and individual in-class work, student presentations, visiting speakers and class trips. Students are expected to come prepared to each class having done the readings and with comments and questions ready from which to participate in discussion.


At the end of this course, students can expect to be able to:

  • Describe the path toward applying to medical school;
  • Outline what the first year of medical school consists of, and how medical education has changed;
  • Summarize how health care is paid for in the United States, as well as alternative models for funding health care;
  • Appraise the importance of socioeconomic impacts on health and illness;
  • Learn how to work as a team to present a case.


This seminar is appropriate for high school students who are interested in issues and careers related to medical practice and health care systems. No previous knowledge of any of these issues is required.

A Typical Classroom Session

Each day will be loosely organized around a topic such as: The American Health Care System

9:00 - 10:00am:

Presentation by instructor on the economics of health care.

10:00 - 11:00am:

Students will present researched information on health care delivery in America covering the private and government sectors.

11:00 - 11:15am:


11:15am - 12:15pm:

Discussion and debate about alternative ways of delivering and funding health care and what role the government should play in funding health care.

12:15 - 12:30pm:

Case study and discussion

Field trips/afternoon activities

Tentative Field Trips/Afternoon Activities

The seminar will be a mixture of half days and full days. On the full days, there will be field trips or other seminar activities that will require attendance beyond the typical classroom schedule, such as student research and presentations.

Resources and Materials

A reading list will be sent prior to the start of the program so you can prepare for the seminar. During the seminar, you will be given assistance with sources for your presentations and will gain experience in using online databases and the Northwestern University Library.