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March 27, 1996

'Mini-Med Schools' Offer Lay Public Lessons in the Science of Medicine

JAMA. 1996;275(12):897-899. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530360007003

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MEDICAL SCHOOLS, long accustomed to the yearnings of prospective students vying for admission, are now finding themselves ardently pursued by a new group of supplicants: a public hungry for knowledge about the science behind modern medical discoveries.

To their surprise and delight, a number of medical schools and other biomedical institutions that have established "mini-med schools"—classes aimed at teaching the public about the process and discoveries of medical science—are overwhelmed with applicants of all ages and backgrounds who are eager to learn more about medical science.

The University of Chicago Medical Center, for example, quickly filled the 300 slots in its first mini-med class last year and put more than 700 people on a waiting list, who were given first dibs on the unadvertised fall series. Demand for the university's third run of the mini-med program, which kicked off its first lecture on a frigid Chicago evening this month, again