Health and medical education is undergoing significant shifts. Driving these shifts are changes in education and research, such as digital-based and team-based learning approaches, and a greater sensitivity to local and regional contexts. There is a significant need and opportunity for new experiments to address a broader understanding of health and its improved practice so that we may better prepare students for emerging trends in professional medicine. Premedical students cannot progress to medical school without a rigorous scientific curriculum, and they must score in the top quintile of the MCAT in order to be highly competitive. Baylor can and must do more in preparing students for a career in medicine.
Baylor’s unique opportunity is the preparation of the next generation of Christian physicians and physician leaders at a time when a Christian voice can provide profound guidance. We must provide them with the ability to engage with a society faced with groundbreaking moral and ethical challenges to our understanding of human life and dignity, such as human genome editing and the possibility of synthetic human enhancement. Baylor can educate its students with a fundamental knowledge of what it means to be human — that is, to be created in God’s image. To refine this understanding, we rely heavily on courses in medical ethics, leadership, and theology to enable our graduates to influence a rapidly growing secular culture. Good physicians have an understanding of the human condition that enhances their ability to empathize with patients. A curriculum that includes classes in economics, sociology, and epidemiology is critical and greatly enhanced by engaged learning through community volunteering at health centers and medical mission trips; every Baylor premedical student can use these real life experiences to understand the Christian commitment to minister to those in need.
Baylor will create premedical and other health-related programs that inspire Christian leaders in all the health professions and allow our students to enjoy meaningful and significant engagement in medical research and patient care. These programs require a rigorous scientific education with a human emphasis and, perhaps of equal importance, a Christian understanding of the economic and social challenges facing medicine and culture. Baylor is uniquely poised to take a bold step in premedical and health education that would have an impact far beyond undergraduate preparation for medical schools and the healthcare industry in general. By expanding our partnerships and programs, Baylor will provide a transformational educational experience that will infuse our students with the abilities and inspiration to discover new medical cures and create a more compassionate and effective medical system. By using the shifting landscape of professional medicine to reveal new opportunities and intersections with STEM fields, the humanities, and the social sciences, Baylor can provide a truly unique educational environment for these students. Indeed, Baylor can support the axiom that the leaders in healthcare of the 21st century will be people capable of judgment as well as mastery, sense making, and efficiency.
Through our Christian mission, Baylor will reintroduce conversations of how the notions of joy and hope are integral to the practice and study of healthcare. This will be done with new minors and concentrations such as leadership medicine, health, health policy and administration, and medical ethics. There will be an increased number of health-related research opportunities and internships both on and off the campus. The development of new fast-track programs will allow students to directly earn an undergraduate degree and master’s and doctorate degrees seamlessly in areas such as physical and occupational therapies, physician assistant, and clinical lab science.