MSU Shared Discovery C Mark R

MSU SDC Connected Learning Societies Overview of The Academy

The Academy is the intellectual and professional home of our learners and the medical education home of its Faculty Fellows. Organized into four Learning Societies that include small groups of students, clinical faculty, basic and social scientists, it is designed to provide the organization and delivery of several components of the Shared Discovery Curriculum, including post-clinic debriefing, problem-based learning and other small group learning experiences, student portfolio review and individual personal learning plan formulation and tracking.  The Academy enables the organization and delivery of specialized educator development to promote excellence in teaching and coaching, as well as ongoing support of scholarly endeavors.  Learning societies promote active, student-centered adult learning, and provide a natural model for integrated interdisciplinary education.  It is a more personalized medical education and fosters and environment of shared discovery for students and educators.

The Academy, with its composition of students, basic and social scientists, and physicians, anchors our educational enterprise. This administrative structure enables students to interact with educators in a variety of settings over multiple years. Each week, Learning Society Fellows will debrief students’ clinical experiences, lead small groups, teach clinical and necessary science, observe clinical skills performance in simulation or in patient care environments, and hold informal office hours. On a regular basis, they will review the contents of their students’ educational portfolios and guide the development of students’ individualized learning plans. Behind the scenes, Learning Society Fellows create curricular offerings and engage in specific faculty development to build their skills in curriculum design and delivery, small group teaching and facilitation, and learner coaching and assessment.  The learning societies enable the development of longitudinal, trusting relationships for students with each other and with faculty to provide a rich collegial environment for educators that facilitates ongoing mentoring and scholarly collaboration.


The Learning Societies

MSU SDC Academy Chart

Students and Faculty Fellows are organized in the curriculum through the creation of four learning societies spanning the geographic campuses and medical student years in the curriculum. The Learning Societies are the site of academic coordination of student learning plans as well as the home of post clinic groups that integrate and contextualize students’ experiences in clinic with the programmed content of the curriculum.

What happens in the learning societies?

  • Post-clinic debriefing
  • Small group instruction
  • Portfolio development
  • Individual learning plan review
  • Professional socialization and career development



Meet the Learning Society Chiefs

Jon Gold, MD is a general pediatrician, an educator, and a transplant to the Midwest from various points along the Northeast Corridor.  After a short stint in private practice, he joined the faculty at Michigan State University in 2001.  His scholarship interests are in medical education and child advocacy.  When not working, or thinking about being a Learning Society Chief,  he can be found playing with his kids, riding a bike, watching a movie, cooking, or reading a novel.

Pat Brewer, PhD received her BS degree in Psychology with honors from Michigan State University in 1975.  Following her PhD in Anatomy from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in 1984 she was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health.  She has held faculty positions at several universities, including the University of Texas System (1992 through 2010), where she was a tenured Distinguished Teaching Professor and the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.  In 2010 Pat was thrilled to return to her alma mater as CHM expanded to Grand Rapids.  When she first came to CHM, Pat was the Assistant Dean for Student Development.  She is currently a Professor in the Department of Radiology and is the Assistant Director for Block II and Problem-Based Learning.  In her copious amounts of spare time she enjoys being with her two children (Ashley, a Latin teacher in North Carolina and Jordan, a fourth year medical student in Texas).  When she is not thinking about being a Learning Society Chief,   Pat also loves working on her 1913 historic home in the Heritage Hill district of Grand Rapids and invites you to please come visit during the next annual Secchia Holiday Soiree.

Sath Sudhanthar, MD is a pediatrician and an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Human Development at Michigan State University. He went to medical school in India and completed a master’s degree in public health from Western Kentucky University. He did his internship in pediatrics at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh and completed his residency at Michigan State University-Sparrow Hospital Pediatric Residency Program. He joined the College after his residency training in 2006 and has been in practice since then. He enjoys seeing children for well child visits and also for a wide variety of illnesses. He has also been actively involved in directing clinical skills since 2010, and is our Director of Clinical Skills. He is active in mentoring medical students and residents at all levels of training. When he is not thinking about being a Learning Society Chief, He enjoys listening to all types of music, cheering on the Steelers during football season and spending time with family.

Angie Thompson-Busch, MD PhD grew up in Grand Rapids. She completed a PhD in pharmacology from the University of Michigan in 1991, an MD from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1995, and a pediatric residency at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center in 1998. She returned to Grand Rapids to teach pediatrics to medical students and residents in 2012 and worked in the Academic General Pediatrics Department at Spectrum Health Medical Group for three years.  During her time at Spectrum Health she received the Pediatric Residency Program Outpatient Teacher of the Year Award from GRMEP and an Outstanding Core Faculty Award from MSU CHM. Along with her role as a Learning Society Chief, she is now the Community Assistant Dean in Grand Rapids.

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