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Pennsylvania State University (College of Medicine)

Penn State College of Medicine is committed to enhancing the quality of life through improved health, the professional preparation of those who will serve the health needs of others, and the discovery of knowledge that will benefit all.

In 1963, The M. S. Hershey Foundation offered $50 million to The Pennsylvania State University to establish a medical school in Hershey. With this grant and $21.3 million from the U.S. Public Health Service, the University built a medical school, teaching hospital, and research center. Ground was broken in 1966 and Penn State's College of Medicine opened its doors to the first class of students in 1967 and Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center accepted the first patients in 1970.

The original buildings at Penn State Hershey Medical Center included the Medical Science Building and medical center, Animal Research Farm, Laundry and Steam Plant, and University Manor Apartments. Since 1970, the campus has grown from 318 to 550 acres. Many additions have been made to the academic and patient-care facilities.

Today, Penn State Hershey Medical Center has completed several carefully planned construction projects. Additions were made to reflect a steady increase in patient demand for services and to expand research and teaching programs.

Penn State College of Medicine students have gone on to become productive physicians and scientists. As of May 2001, the College of Medicine has graduated 2,808 physicians and 598 scientists with Ph.D. or M.S. degrees. The College of Medicine offers degree programs in anatomy, biochemistry and molecular biology, bioengineering, cell and molecular biology, genetics, integrative biosciences, microbiology and immunology, neuroscience, pharmacology, and physiology, and two postdoctoral programs leading to an M.S. degree in Laboratory Animal Medicine, the only such program in the Commonwealth, and an M.S. in Health Evaluation Sciences. Each year, more than 360 resident physicians are trained in medical specialties at Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

An allied-health training program at Penn State Hershey Medical Center leading to a Penn State certificate in Cardiovascular Perfusion Technology has graduated 74 students through 2001. The Radiologic Technology Training Program, conducted at Penn State Hershey Medical Center until 1998, is now offered at the Penn State Schuylkill Campus. Nursing students from Penn State College of Health and Human Development B.S. degree program rotate through University Hospital for clinical courses each term, and students from other Penn State health-related programs and other institutions come to the campus for clinical experience. The extended B.S. degree program for nurses is offered in conjunction with the College of Health and Human Development.

Continuing education programs serve Penn State Hershey Medical Center and health-care professionals throughout Pennsylvania, with enrollments exceeding 21,000 each year.

The College of Medicine offered the associate degree in Clinical Health Service for the Physician's Assistant Training Program through 1986. This program awarded certificates to 340 graduates in fourteen classes.

In 2000-2001 Penn State Hershey Medical Center admitted 20,622 patients and provided care through 524,411 outpatient and 33,705 emergency-service visits. Penn State Hershey Medical Center has 5,028 employees, 500 volunteers, and the College of Medicine enrolls more than 600 students annually.

The Penn State University College of Medicine has four components in the recruitment and selection of medical students: 1. to recruit and enroll the best qualified applicants for careers in medicine, 2. to follow affirmative action guidelines in identifying, actively recruiting, and retaining highly qualified minority students, 3. to view prospective students in the context of present and future healthcare needs, and 4. to provide assistance with financial aid that will allow qualified students to pursue a career in medicine.

Nestled in the rolling hills of central Pennsylvania, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine are in suburban Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s state capital.

The campus includes student housing, outdoor athletic fields, an outdoor walking path that encircles the campus, a day care center, an indoor fitness center complex, a nearby public park, and many other activities for students.

The practice of medicine is undergoing major changes. Many of these changes are part of a transformation that will alter the way health care is organized and delivered in the future. The Penn State curriculum is designed to reinforce the enduring tenets of the practice of medicine and address the broad and changing healthcare needs of society. The curriculum is learner-centered and has been developed to prepare our students for work in a more integrated healthcare system.

The Committee on Undergraduate Medical Education, composed of faculty and students, meets regularly to evaluate and modify the curriculum to keep pace with new knowledge and changes in healthcare delivery.

The faculty of the Penn State College of Medicine is engaged in the education of superior physicians. The college has developed a program that emphasizes the scientific disciplines and humanistic concerns necessary to achieve this goal. The practice of medicine, both in the community and in an academic setting, is an art with a scientific base. Prime consideration is given to development in the student of a sense of responsibility; of an understanding of the patient’s need for a compassionate, knowledgeable, and available physician; of a commitment to continuing inquiry and research, self-education, and the improvement of professional skills.

Students are invited by the faculty to become colleagues in a productive learning experience. Effort is made to maintain an informal atmosphere and an open-door policy to promote student–faculty interchange. The curriculum is under the continuous scrutiny of a committee in which students and faculty participate.

The faculty aims to familiarize the student with the basic knowledge, scientific principles, and clinical skills that provide a foundation for the practice of medicine. The student must be motivated to keep pace with the rapidly advancing body of medical knowledge by embarking on a lifelong program of scholarly, intellectual inquiry.

Learning techniques emphasize problem solving. Many opportunities for individual clinical and basic research are readily available. Such experiences are intended to train the student in the methods for gathering and evaluating valid information to find the solution of each patient’s problems.

Learning is interdisciplinary in nature, insofar as is practical. In clinical conferences, emphasis may be placed on the scientific foundation from which understanding of disease processes and their management necessarily derives. Preparation in the basic sciences is integrated with clinical training so that the student may have a sound scientific basis for development of clinical interests. Electives as well as research opportunities enable each student to find expression for his or her unique interests in medicine.

It is the goal of the faculty to help the student achieve professional competence with a sound grasp of the principles of human behavior and humanistic values. Students interact with patients and physicians in a variety of settings. Students are expected to strive to develop, along with the unique professional skills of the physician, a thorough commitment to those who come under their care, whether the student’s future vocation will be medical practice, research, or administration.

The College of Medicine is accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education of the American Medical Association and the Association of American Medical Colleges.

School name:Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine
Address:500 University Drive
Zip & city:PA 17033 Pennsylvania

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College of Medicine Medical School Location

College of Medicine Courses


The first year curriculum combines case based, student centered learning with strategic lectures, laboratories, and small-group discussions. It has four academic units -three in sequence and one in parallel. The sequential academic units are Structural Basis of Medical Practice, Cellular and Molecular Basis of Medical Practice, and Biological Basis of Disease.


* Structural Basis of Medical : Includes the disciplines of anatomy, embryology, and radiologic anatomy. During this part of the curriculum, the parallel course of Patients, Physicians, and Society I adds patient interviewing and physical diagnosis in a coordinated fashion. Clinical correlates to the study of anatomy are provided on a weekly basis and small group is an important component of the gross anatomy laboratory.

* Cellular and Molecular Basis of Medical Practice : Includes biochemistry, histology, molecular biology, molecular genetics, pharmacology, and physiology. Small-group, case-based learning is introduced during this course in combination with lectures, learning exercises, and laboratories.

* Biological Basis of Disease : Includes general principles of pathology, immunology, and microbiology. There is increased emphasis on case-based learning and a laboratory component.

* Patients, Physicians and Society : Is a year-long course that runs in parallel to the other first year academic units. The course is designed to add breadth to the first year experience and includes topics of the patient-physician relationship, patient interviewing, introductory physical diagnosis, core humanities, and biostatistics.


The second year of the curriculum continues with an integrated and interdisciplinary approach organized around organ systems. This provides an opportunity for students to build upon knowledge and skills learned during the first year as well as to incorporate more specific material from pathology, pathophysiology, microbiology, pharmacology, and human genetics. In addition to case-based sessions, educational forums include lectures, basic laboratories, small-group discussion sessions, and experience in our fully automated human simulation laboratory.


* Hematology
* Cardiology
* Pulmonary Medicine
* Renal Medicine
* Gastroenterology
* Neural & Behavioral Science
* Integument & Musculoskeletal
* Reproductive Medicine
* Endocrinology
* Patients, Physicians & Society II


The third year begins with a week-long Clinical Skills Course. It is designed to provide students with necessary basic skills to begin clinical work. The remainder of the third year includes a sequence of required core clinical clerkships.


* Internal Medicine
* Family and Community Medicine
* Psychiatry
* Primary Care Medicine
* Obstetrics and Gynecology
* Pediatrics
* Surgery


The fourth year consists of a minimum of four elective rotations and four required advanced experiences, including acting internships in a medical discipline, a surgical discipline, a primary care area, and a wide range of humanities selectives. The humanities selective may be integrated with a clinical experience. The College of Medicine offers a wide variety of both clinical and research electives. There are many opportunities for clinical opportunities in rural and metropolitan locations across Pennsylvania, in other regions of the country, and abroad.


* Medicine Acting Internship
* Surgical Acting Internship
* Humanity selective
* Electives

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