Societies Mentorship of the University of Arizona College of Medicine


We began our LC, which we call the Societies Program, when we revised our curriculum at the University of Arizona in 2006 and moved from longitudinal departmental-based courses to an integrated block-based structure. The Societies Program was envisioned to teach clinical and professional skills in our two-year  “Doctor & Patient” block and provide student support throughout all four years of medical school. We have maintained extensive involvement in the first two years of our curriculum with two weekly four-hour sessions with our groups of six students (one session for year 1 students and one session for year 2 students) and also meet regularly with our students in years 3 and 4.

Program Goals

  • Provide consistent and structured exposure to modern concepts of professionalism
  • Provide early career development and advice
  • Provide social support and foster collegiality between students and between students and faculty


  • We have 115 students in each class year. At matriculation students are divided into four Societies; each Society is further divided into 5 groups for a total of 20 groups in each year, each with six students and one mentor.
  • The groups (students and mentors) stay with each other for all four years of medical school.
  • Each Society Mentor therefore has four groups of six students, one in each year of medical school, for a total of 24 students.


  • The Deputy Dean for Education, Dr. Kevin Moynahan, and a senior faculty member, Dr. Paul Gordon, share leadership of the Society Program and the Doctor & Patient block.
  • Faculty development sessions are held every week for all Societies Mentors.


  • Learn developmental interviewing, physical examination, and patient care skills at the patient beside
  • Develop clinical thinking, documentation and presentation skills


  1. Drs. Moynahan & Gordon published a comprehensive article describing the program’s implementation in 2010 (Journal of the International Association of Medical Science Educators, 2010:20:(2):124-142).
  2. Dr. Moynahan was part of the group publishing an article documenting the significant increase in LCs that has occurred over the past decade (Academic Medicine 2014:89(6): 928-933).

Lessons Learned

  • Although our bedside teaching is extensive beginning on day one of medical school, it involves predominantly patients in the emergency department and inpatients. We want to teach our students about ambulatory patient care as well, but have found this organizationally difficult. We use Standardized Patients (SPs), to simulate clinic visits, but continue to look for alternative outpatient experiences.
  • Each afternoon while two students go to the bedside with their mentor, we have 1pm-3pm activities for the remaining students in the block before the entire group reconvenes to discuss the cases. These have been challenging to design and schedule but have been useful. They include ECG interpretation, CXR interpretation, PFT interpretation, focused SP interview & exam, cross-cultural medicine, dilated eye exam with detailed ophthalmologic instruction from an ophthalmology faculty member, and instruction in evidence-based decision-making.
  • During exam week, we substitute our bedside teaching with a shortened classroom/small group hybrid session entitled: Personal and Professional Development (PPD). These PPD sessions explore professional development and have received the most critical feedback from our students. We continue to revise and redesign these.
  • By choosing patients for bedside sessions that have diseases similar to what our students are studying in their block, there are multiple opportunities for students to practice early integration of basic and clinical sciences, as well as to review past material using a real case. This has proven to be a highlight of the program.
  • The social aspect of our LC and the support and bonding that occurs between students and students and their mentor is among the most rewarding aspects of the program for our mentors.