Why is this medical school trying to lure English majors?

Half of each incoming class at New York City-based Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai will soon be nontraditional medical students — students who didn't take the MCAT and who studied humanities in college.

Mount Sinai's medical school is expanding and revamping its HuMed program, a program that guarantees humanities students from select liberal arts schools admission to the school after their sophomore year, according to NPR. HuMed students study science over the summer at Mount Sinai, freeing them up to study what they want during the school year.

Established in 1987 by then-dean of medical education Nathan Kase, MD, the HuMed program was meant to diversify the class and help reduce "pre-med syndrome," when students are laser-focused on acing science courses, to the point of unsociability and extreme competitiveness. Dr. Kase believed a foundation in the liberal arts helped students relate to patients and communicate, making for well-rounded physicians.

Studies show that HuMed students are just as successful as their science-based counterparts, according to NPR. Plus, they are more likely to become primary care physicians or psychiatrists.

Due to the success of the HuMed program in rounding out medical classes, Mount Sinai has decided to revamp the program under the name "FlexMed." FlexMed will be open to students from any major at any university and, eventually, half the admitted medical class each year will be admitted through the program, according to the report.

"People who look at the same problems through different lenses will make us better in the long run," Mount Sinai's current dean of medical education, David Muller, MD, told NPR. "Now, can I prove that's going to be the case? No. But I'd like to believe that it is."


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