Technical Standards for MD Program

The education of a physician encompasses a preparatory phase in college, a rigorous undergraduate medical professional education leading to the MD degree, postgraduate or residency training, and lifelong continuing education. The MD degree awarded at the completion of the undergraduate medical educational process certifies that the individual has acquired a broad base of knowledge and skills that are needed for the practice of medicine.

The educational process at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is structured to prepare our students to be physicians and is in accord with the objectives defined by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the accrediting agency in the U.S. for medical schools. The admissions standards of the School, therefore, are rigorous and exacting. Admission may be extended only to those who are best qualified to meet the standards set forth below.

Candidates for the MD degree must have abilities and skills in five domains: observation, communication, motor, conceptual/integrative and quantitative, and behavioral and social. Technological or other accommodations can be made for some disabilities in certain of these areas, but a candidate should be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner. Use of an intermediary for the collection of a patient's history, including but not limited to sign-language interpretation or use of technological devices, is acceptable. Nevertheless, the candidate must be able to perform a full physical examination, must consistently, quickly and accurately integrate all information received by whichever sense(s) are employed, and must have the intellectual ability to learn, gather information, communicate, and integrate, analyze, and synthesize data.

The candidate must be able to observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences including, but not limited to, physiologic and pharmacologic demonstrations in animals, and microbiologic cultures and microscopic studies of microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathologic states. A candidate must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand. Observation requires the functional use of the senses of vision and somatic sensation.

A candidate should be able to elicit information; describe changes in mood, activity, and posture; and perceive nonverbal communication in interactions with patients. A candidate must be able to communicate effectively, professionally, and sensitively with patients. In addition, the candidate must be able to communicate effectively, professionally, and efficiently with all members of the health care team in both immediate and recorded modes.

Candidates should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers. A candidate should be able to do basic laboratory tests (urinalysis, CBC, etc.), carry out diagnostic procedures (proctoscopy, paracentesis, etc.), and evaluate EKGs and X-rays. A candidate should be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Examples of emergency treatment reasonably required of physicians are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the administration of intravenous medication, the application of pressure to stop bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways, the suturing of simple wounds, and the performance of simple obstetrical maneuvers. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.

Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities
These abilities include measurement, calculations, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physicians, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, the candidate should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures.

Behavioral and Social Attributes
Candidates must possess the emotional health required for full use of their intellectual abilities, exercise good judgment, and be capable of promptly completing the tasks attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients. They must be able to develop mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of the uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities that should be assessed during the admissions and education process.

Candidates for the MD degree must gather data from, communicate with, and care for, in a non-judgmental way, persons whose culture, sexual orientation, or spiritual beliefs are different from their own. Throughout the clinical curriculum, students must be able to consistently perform a complete history and physical exam on any patient regardless of the patient's race, color, national origin, marital status, military status, citizenship, disability, genetic predisposition, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, age, or sexual preference.

Adherence to these technical standards ensures that the MD degree attests to the basic acquisition of general knowledge in all fields of medicine, as well as the acquisition of the basic skills necessary for medical practice.

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