In the morning of June 15, 2016, I, the project proponent, proposed the SGD Project, a continuation of the activity that started last year with a few members of Iatros and Dean Carandang. The project is similar to Foundation of Medicine’s small group discussions without the graded quiz after the discussion.

It’s basically a non-graded discussion where students can talk about a specific disease of interest for hours and hours without the pressures of academic standing. The preceptor, who is usually also a professor from the college, also gives words of wisdom about his/her field of specialization which make the students all the more interested to pursue the same field. The first SGD case last year was about Multiple Sclerosis and I have never been more informed about the disease than when we talked about it within the SGD project. The setting of students talking to each other and being guided by a preceptor levels the learning ground. It’s not so hard to grasp the concepts if a fellow student explains it to you because you have the same wavelength.

It’s amazing how even if this project started in the summer, a time for rest and out-of-town trips, a lot of students still make time and effort to attend the SGDs. There are currently five SGD groups with different interests namely: Surgery, Neurology, Gastroenterology, Cardiology and Infectious Disease.

Last July 15, 2016, the neurology SGD was conducted with a few aspiring-neurologists and Dr. Hans Ludwig Damian, the head of the neurosciences department of the college of medicine. The case was about Neuromyelitis Optica, a 40 to 100,000 prevalence disease common among females. The good thing about the SGD project is that the preceptors give us cases that are rarely taught in the lectures, rare diseases that only experts in the field get to encounter. It’s amazing how a simple invitation with a doctor can bring about good results and motivation to a medical student. Dr. Damian also talked about his beginnings as a neurologist and what he is doing now. The session ended with a little token of appreciation from the students.

The next SGDs are expected to be conducted in the remaining days of July. The next batch of SGDs will be held in December 2016.

An excerpt of the project proposal is included here:

“Medical education is a dynamic world. Its quick pacing has left the medical student little room to wander, wonder, question, explore and read more than what is required. We are filled with requirements that I am certain will mold us into better individuals, Lukan medical doctors. However, at the end of the day, there is always something more out there left to be discovered. The classroom setting is the perfect avenue for us to listen, learn and interact with our professor and fellow students. But I’d like to go beyond the classroom. I’d like to read books and research journals just because I want to learn about a certain topic of interest. I know a lot of Lukans share the same passion for learning. Hence, this project proposal entitled the SGD Project.”