School of Medicine

Another kudo for iMedEd Initiative

iMedEd Initiative named a 2013-15 Apple Distinguished Program
Photo by Steve Zylius/University Communications
“We’re honored that Apple has recognized our achievements for a second time,” said Dr. Ralph V. Clayman, dean of the UC Irvine School of Medicine.

Innovative program again wins the title of Apple Distinguished Program

The iMedEd Initiative – UC Irvine’s innovative medical education iPad program – has been recognized as a 2013-2015 Apple Distinguished Program.

The iMedEd Initiative joins a select group of programs being recognized nationwide as exemplary learning environments. The Apple Distinguished Program designation is reserved for programs that meet criteria for innovation, leadership, and educational excellence, and demonstrate a clear vision of exemplary learning environments.

“The iMedEd Initiative is truly groundbreaking for its innovative, digital-based educational platform that conforms to the 21st century learning styles and needs of students throughout the world,” said Dr. Ralph V. Clayman, dean of the UC Irvine School of Medicine. “We’re honored that Apple has recognized our achievements for a second time.”

The iMedEd Initiative was also recognized as a 2012-13 Apple Distinguished Program.

The iMedEd Initiative is reinventing the traditional medical school curriculum. It was the first to build a completely digital, interactive learning environment – which includes tablet-based learning and portable ultrasound clinical training – and continues to lead in adapting emerging technologies for all aspects of classroom and clinical training. This academic year, the entire four-year curriculum has been placed on iPad, giving UC Irvine one of the first all-digital program medical schools in the nation.

Since 2010, when the initiative was launched, incoming UC Irvine medical students have received fully loaded iPads, putting at their fingertips all the information they need to read, study or review. The iPads also provide podcasts of lectures and a wealth of other instructional materials assembled for students’ course and clinical work. This multimedia approach has engendered a rich educational environment that accommodates all modes of learning, especially small group sessions.

Clayman said that by having all aspects of our medical school curriculum on iPad, students are learning better than they have in the past.

He points to scores on the U.S. Medical School Licensing Step 1 Examination – taken at the end of the second year of medical school – as an example. The first two classes participating in the iMedEd Initiative scored an average of 23 percent higher than previous pre-iPad classes, despite having similar incoming GPAs and MCAT scores. The national mean score has had little change over the same time period.

UC Irvine’s medical students have advanced the iMedEd mission in creative ways. They formed an iMedEd Innovators Group, which consists of eager “technophiles” who review the latest technology offerings to see what place they might have in the medical school curriculum. Their blog is read worldwide.

Other students have formed an iMedEd International program, exploring how their iPads and SonoSite portable point-of-care ultrasound units can be used to improve healthcare and medical education in Peru, Australia, China, Vietnam, Nicaragua, India and Israel.

The iMedEd Initiative continues to serve as a model for advancing health education. Dr. Warren Wiechmann, an assistant clinical professor of emergency medicine and faculty director of the Instructional Technologies Group, which oversees iMedEd, has become a recognized leader in advancing tablet-based instruction.

Weichmann leads a mobile working group of education representatives from 35 U.S. medical, osteopathic, nursing pharmacy and dental schools that have incorporated iPad into their curriculum. He also has served on the advisory board for and uses his blog and Twitter to share innovative applications of technology in healthcare and healthcare education.

For his achievements, Wiechmann was recognized as an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2013.

The iMedEd Initiative is fully supported by the John and Mary Tu Scholarship Fund, which finances the purchase of  iPads and a complete library of digital textbooks for all incoming UC Irvine medical students.