Public science education: Café, clinic, car or couch?

Cynthia Wichelman, M.D.

Cynthia Wichelman, M.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, will be one of three speakers at a lecture, “Public Science Education: Café, clinic, car or couch?” from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. February 18. The other speakers are John Cohen, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Colorado, and Evan Hadingham, senior science editor of NOVA.

Wichelman is course director of Washington University School of Medicine’s Mini-Medical School (MMS), which was first offered to the public in 1999. It rapidly acquired a waiting list of more than 1,000.

MMS attracts students from age 15 to 92 with very diverse backgrounds — students, professors, engineers, attorneys, CEOs, stay-at-home moms, plumbers, venture capitalists and others. The original MMS has been expanded to MMS I, II and III. Each MMS is limited to 110 participants and consists of eight two-hour evening sessions covering a wide spectrum of medicine. MMS I focuses on lectures and suture lab; MMS II focuses on labs, including anatomy, physical diagnosis, physical therapy and microsurgery, in addition to lectures; and MMS III is discussion of a disease with patient presentation. WUSM has the most comprehensive MMS in the nation. All information is presented in an easy-to-understand style, and students may speak with faculty after each lecture over dessert. At the final session, graduates receive a certificate of completion, and a graduation reception is held.

Before becoming director of Mini-Medical School, Wichelman worked in the Emergency Department and trained both residents and medical students.

She earned her medical degree from Stanford University School of Medicine and completed a residency in emergency medicine at the combined program of George Washington University/Georgetown University/University of Maryland. Wichelman is board certified in emergency medicine and is a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Wichelman has provided healthcare in rural areas of Alaska and to hill tribes in Thailand.

Washington University School of Medicine’s full-time and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked third in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.