Lucie Calderon (Class of 2019)
Since 1963, the Aesculapian Society has served students by opening a line of communication between students and faculty in the spirit of bettering LSU’s medical school education. The exact functions of the organization have evolved with each generation of scholars, but it remains, first and foremost, a student-run society that assimilates feedback from the students and works with faculty to better cater to the needs of each class.
Our most recent adaptation took place with the Class of 2019 who sat through the product of LSU’s recent curriculum change. In tandem with the direction of medical schools across the country, LSU worked intensively to incorporate a more systems-based schedule in the second year curriculum. Courses were moved around, broken down and reassembled, and taught for the first time by a team of faculty members from several disciplines to provide a holistic overview of each organ system.
The Aesculapian Society, which formerly met with faculty members at the conclusion of each course, saw a need for a quicker turnaround of communication to address the issues that we saw day-to-day in the classroom as lecturers presented their foundational material in a new way for the first time. A herculean task, perhaps, but it was one that was approached strategically by motivated students and by faculty members who were extremely receptive to their feedback. What was once a singular meeting at the end of the semester became weekly meetings with course directors, where selected Aesculapian representatives collected suggestions from their peers and presented actionable proposals to the faculty. While a curriculum change will always require a great deal of work well beyond what the outside observer might notice, it’s fair to say that with the strong efforts of both faculty and students, the transition occurred successfully and was well received by Class of 2019 and the subsequent classes of students.
Given the great feedback the students and faculty gave about the Aesculapians’ work during the second year curriculum, we tweaked the way we approached both the first and the third year data collection processes to also include methods of more real-time feedback. First-year representatives began meeting regularly with their course directors to address immediate needs of their peers, similar to the structure of the second-year meetings. Third years are also exploring a new system of communication in which members are selected to represent a certain service throughout the year, and they serve as the sounding board for concerns of any students rotating through that particular clerkship. Rather than simply waiting until the conclusion of the year to address issues that arose each block, Aesculapians are now able to communicate their feedback so as to effect change for the students beginning the clerkship in the next rotation.
The Society continues to harvest data on a course-by-course basis to provide faculty members with written reports at the end of each semester, but the Society has and will continue to adapt to meet the ever-changing needs of the student body.