SPRINGFIELD — Baystate Medical Center’s Mini-Medical School, which begins its spring session on March 24, offers an ideal opportunity for area residents to get out of the house after a long, snow-filled winter to join others interested in learning more about the ever-expanding field of medicine.
Many of the students, who typically range in age from 20 to 70, participate due to a general interest in medicine and later find that many of the things they learned over the semester are relevant to their own lives. The goal of the program, offered in the hospital’s Chestnut Conference Center, is to help members of the public make more-informed decisions about their health care while receiving insight on what it is like to be a medical student — minus the tests, interviews, and admission formalities.
The Mini-Medical School program is an eight-part health-education series featuring a different aspect of medicine each week. Classes this spring will include sessions on various medical topics, including surgery, pathology, infectious diseases, emergency medicine, sleep disorders, cardiology, and psychiatry.
Each course is taught by medical center faculty who explain the science of medicine without resorting to complex terms. Baystate Medical Center is the Western Campus of Tufts University School of Medicine and is the region’s only teaching hospital.
All classes are held Thursday nights starting at 6 p.m. and run until 8 or 9 p.m. No basic science knowledge is needed to participate. Each participant is required to attend a minimum of six out of eight classes in order to receive a certificate of completion. The topics and speakers slated for the spring semester are:
March 24: “What is Medical School?” — including a general tour of the hospital — with Dr. Michael Rosenblum, medical director of Baystate High Street Health Center.
March 31: “Emergency Medicine,” with Dr. John Santoro, vice chair of Emergency Medicine, Baystate Medical Center.
April 7: “Surgery” — including a tour of the Simulation Center and Goldberg Surgical Skills Lab — with Dr. Richard Wait, chair of the Department of Surgery at Baystate Medical Center.
April 14: “Pathology” — including a tour of the lab — with Dr. Richard Friedberg, chair of the Department of Pathology at Baystate Medical Center.
April 21: “Psychiatry,” with Dr. Benjamin Liptzin, chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Baystate Medical Center.
April 28: “Infectious Diseases,” with Dr. Daniel Skiest, chief of Infectious Diseases at Baystate Medical Center.
May 5: “Cardiology,” with Dr. Aaron Kugelmass, chief of Cardiology at Baystate Medical Center.
May 12: “Sleep Disorders,” with Dr. Karin Johnson, neurologist in the Department of Neurology at Baystate Medical Center. This class will include a graduation ceremony.
Tuition is $95 per person and $80 for Senior Class and Spirit of Women members. Register for the spring semester of Mini-Medical School by calling Baystate HealthLink at (413) 794-2255 or (800) 377-4325.