Mini Medical School

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Course Date: 08 September 2014 to 03 November 2014 (8 weeks)

Price: free

Course Summary

This course is based on the long-running University of Colorado Mini Med School, founded in 1989, which was the first of its kind. It introduces the exciting basic science that underlies modern medicine, and shows how we use that knowledge to understand medicine today. The course is designed for the general public, including high school students, who are interested in learning more about how the body works. We want to help people take a more active role in their own wellness, and talk effectively with their healthcare providers. Many who have attended the live Mini Medical School in Colorado have gone on to careers in the health care professions. Mini Medical School will last eight weeks, with different topics discussed each week, including anatomy, physiology, cell biology, molecular biology, microbiology, immunology, pharmacology, neurobiology, and cancer biology. These topics are taught in the first years of medical school. The material is presented as mini-lectures (which allow you to fit them easily into your busy schedule), along with varied other learning opportunities. There are active discussion groups where you can talk with other students from around the world.

Course Instructors

J. John Cohen, M.D., Ph.D.

John Cohen (JJ) was born in Montréal, Canada, and attended McGill University there, obtaining his BSc, MSc, Ph.D., and M.D. degrees. He did a residency at the Royal Victoria Hospital, followed by postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Colorado (CU) Medical School in Denver, and at the National Institute for Medical Research in London. He returned to Colorado as assistant professor, and is now professor of Immunology and Medicine. The medical students at Colorado have given him the Excellence in Teaching Award every year since 1982 and he has five times been selected as Teacher of the Year. In 1992 he was made a President’s Teaching Scholar, the university’s highest teaching recognition. In 2001 he was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and in 2002 he received the USA national Alpha Omega Alpha Glaser Award as outstanding teacher of medicine./n/nIn 1989 he founded the CU Mini Medical School for the general public, a concept that has been adapted in over 100 schools in America, Canada, and Europe. In 2007 he was awarded a doctorate honoris causa from the Université de Sherbrooke for his work in public education, and an honorary DSc from McGill in 2010. He received the 2010 AAAS Award for Public Engagement with Science. In 2003 JJ started the Colorado Café Scientifique, where ordinary people meet in a pub to talk about science. In 2007 he and Helen Macfarlane launched the CU “Art in Science | Science in Art” competition and exhibition. He has served on NIH study sections and has been a consultant to NASA, the Arthritis Foundation, and Alpha Omega Alpha, of which he is a faculty member. He is in constant demand to teach and talk around the world, and has held many honorary lectureships. His research group was the first to show that cells have a genetic “suicide program” by which they can be eliminated from the body, in a paper that has been cited 2,000 times. He is currently interested in the neurobiology of teaching and learning./n/n


  • Provides video lectures
  • Uses discussion forums

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