Trinity’s Clinical Edge: An Overview of the ICCM and its Role in Medical Education

Trinity medical school students standing in a circle and talking

When our graduates discuss their time at Trinity (and when preceptors and attendings discuss Trinity students), exceptional clinical preparedness always comes up. This isn’t a coincidence.

Trinity School of Medicine graduates has had extensive clinical training that starts in the first term of study. When they leave St. Vincent after their basic sciences and head to Baltimore, Maryland for their clerkship years, Trinity students feel confident, comfortable, and ready to shine when it’s time to round with their US counterparts in the hospital. The backbone of this Trinity advantage is the Introduction to the courses of the Introduction to Clinical and Community Medicine (referred to collectively as “the ICCM”).

Today, we’re providing an overview of what the ICCM is, how it interacts with the core sciences curriculum on campus, and a video interview with a popular student mentor, ICCM course director, and office hours marathon man, Jamil Ibrahim, MD.
The Introduction to Clinical and Community Medicine runs through a student’s first two years of study. It functions alongside and within the traditional medical school coursework while helping to solidify that lab and lecture time with additional practical experience.

As a refresher, Trinity uses a “trimester” schedule with three terms per year. The diagram below shows how this aligns with the traditional four-year MD program. This approach takes greater advantage of the summer months and offers students greater flexibility in licensing exam preparation and start dates, freeing applicants from the lengthy US and Canadian medical school application cycles. Because every basic sciences term at Trinity has an ICCM component, each term steps students further through sequentially advanced concepts and training in lockstep with their time at Milton Cato Memorial Hospital. This approach is unmatched at larger Caribbean schools and generally can’t even be found in the United States or Canada. 

In the video below, ICCM course director Dr. Ibrahim covers everything from Kaplan resources and in-hospital clinical hours starting in the first term, all the way through the balance between lecture and guided study. He’s even going to get into how Trinity intervenes with support when students struggle with elements of the material. 

With so much material covered by Dr. Ibrahim, we’re going to wrap up today by running through the steps of each ICCM course. To learn more, you can check out our curriculum and read outlines and syllabuses for each course, or contact us directly. (We love questions.)

ICCM/Term 1
Students are introduced to the unique patient-physician relationship and basic skills for clinical interactions, including taking histories and proper patient communication. At the same time, they dive into the relationship between public health and clinical medicine, also covering medical ethics, cultural competence, and patient centered care. Students receive their first HIPAA and OSHA-BBP certifications.

ICCM/Term 2

In their second term on campus in St. Vincent, Trinity students refine their information gathering skills, including physical examination, and organ system approaches. In addition to lecture and time in the hospital, student study is supplemented with time in skills labs and multi-media materials. The course rounds out with a discussion on access to care and national/global health systems and challenges.

ICCM/Term 3
Term three reinforces the professional and personal attributes required to be a high-performing, caring physician. Additional hospital and clinic rotations, presentations, and other group activities round out the clinical development of the first three terms of study at Trinity.

ICCM/Term 4
The fourth iteration of the ICCM builds directly on the professionalism and skilled application of accumulated clinical knowledge for Trinity students in the hospital, the lecture hall, and skills labs. 

ICCM/Term 5

The fifth term is the start of a major transition for Trinity’s MD students. While term 5 continues integrating clinical medicine with the basic sciences in terms 1-4, students participate in case of presentations, more advanced clinical experiences, and active learning techniques. Skills demonstrations throughout the term prepare students for the objective structure clinical examination (OSCE) at the conclusion of the term with standardized patients. The fifth term is the culmination of basic science and early clinical training as well as the final push towards USMLE Step-1 preparation and transitioning back to the United States for clinical rotations.

Trinity School of Medicine has been refining its approach to clinical medicine, classroom curriculum, and licensing exam preparation since it first opened its doors ten years ago. A major element of research at Trinity is medical pedagogy, and it shows. Our students are some of the hardest-working, most passionate people you will ever meet. Providing them a curriculum that has them not just adequately prepared, but enthusiastic, confident, and ready to learn through the next phases of their medical education and career is an integral part of the Trinity advantage.

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