The program consists of four colleges, each populated by 30 students from each class (120 students across four years), and six core faculty. The faculty members come from many different departments, yet share a passion for and commitment to supporting students throughout their journey to becoming a physician. Students are grouped into units of five, with one dedicated advisor, termed the “advisory molecules.”
In addition to ongoing individual meetings between students and advisors, the molecules function as longitudinal learning teams in the Year 1 Clinical Foundations of Medicine course, and remain in connection over the course of four years to reflect and dialog about important learning experiences that shape their professional identities.
Each college hosts an array of social, community service and peer advising events to foster informal connections and support among peers. The colleges also sponsor a spirite “Olympics” competition each fall and a variety of career-advising programs at key transitions and milestones across the four years. The second floor of the Armstrong Medical Education Building is the colleges’ geographic home, and each of the four colleges has a dedicated multi-purpose space on this floor for student use.
Incoming students meet their faculty advisors on their arrival at Orientation, and subsequently see them for advisory meetings and informal get-togethers. Advising in the colleges is a student-centered process, helping students forge their career path over four or more years, incorporating a broad sense of one’s personal interests, vision and strengths, as well as personal growth, through defining experiences in medical school. Advisors typically support students in their initial adjustment to medical school; teach and provide modeling in foundational skills of doctoring; support their scholarly interests; discuss academic performance; connect them to specialty mentors; help with scheduling decisions; and coach students through the residency application process.
The Colleges program was founded in 2005 by former Dean/CEO Edward Miller; David Nichols, former vice dean of education; Pat Thomas, associate dean for curriculum; Tom Koenig, associate dean for student affairs; and leaders of the Medical Student Senate.
Prior to the program’s founding, school of medicine students expressed a strong desire for enduring relationships with faculty, as well as assistance navigating the complex “road map” of a career in medicine. Given the very real risk of social isolation during the many hours of training and rigorous study, forming a greater sense of community and connectedness among students and between students and faculty became a foundational goal of the colleges.
Four advisory Colleges were established within the CAP, each named after a legendary and inspiring Hopkins faculty member:
- Daniel Nathans, winner of the 1978 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discovery of the biochemical scissors that cut DNA, was a mentor to generations of Johns Hopkins physicians and known for his leadership and service to the Hopkins community.
- Florence Sabin, a renowned pathologist and anatomist, who made significant contributions to medicine and public health became the first woman to hold full professorship at the school of medicine in 1917.
- Helen Taussig is honored not only for her pioneering work as a pediatric cardiologist, but also for her tireless dedication to her young patients, her clinical teaching and her inspiring ability to overcome deafness to become a master clinician.
- Vivien Thomas, a masterful surgical technician and one of Johns Hopkins great unsung heroes, helped develop the :blue baby’ operation, he overcame hardship to devote his life’s work to advancing medical science and served as an invaluable teacher to the country’s most prominent surgeons.
- Fostering a welcoming learning community for students and faculty by honoring diversity
- Promoting advising and mentoring relationships for students across all years of medical school
- Encouraging a culture of peer advising, particularly for students across levels of training
- Advising students on their career development and assisting them in building professional connections across the Johns Hopkins medical community
- Promoting humanism through commitment to caring attitudes, skillful clinical practice, role modeling, mentoring, and supporting each student in their professional formation