UNC School of Medicine Asheville Campus

The Asheville campus provides clinical education for third and fourth year medical students at MAHEC, regional hospitals, and outpatient practices in WNC utilizing an innovative longitudinal curriculum that has been replicated across the state.

UNC School of Medicine Asheville campus opened with four students in July 2009 with the support of the UNC School of Medicine, Mission Health, and MAHEC. Since then, the Asheville campus has grown to 30 Application Phase students in 2020-21 with a planned class of 37 students in 2021-22.


Longitudinal Integrated Curriculum

The foundation of this program, the longitudinal integrated curriculum, is similar to Harvard’s “Cambridge Model” in which third-year medical students are placed in longitudinal integrated clerkships (LICs) in outpatient settings for the majority of their curriculum allowing them to follow patients across healthcare settings. 

The Asheville campus has a cadre of dedicated teachers and a greater reliance on outpatient teaching. Students have more exposure to experienced practicing physicians and are more likely to see the same patients over an extended period of time and through the continuum of care.

The Asheville community is well suited to this type of curriculum with its diverse specialty practices and robust primary care services (Latessa et. al. 2015).

LICs have the following core principles:

  • Continuity of Ps:
    • Preceptors
    • Patients
    • Place
    • Peers
  • Authentic roles with patients
  • Flexibility of unscheduled half days for self-directed learning

The Application Phase

The third year at Asheville campus is comprised of two types of clinical experiences: inpatient and longitudinal outpatient. The inpatient experience consists of 18 weeks and includes surgery, internal medicine, psychiatry, pediatrics, neurology, obstetrics, and emergency medicine.

Students participate in the longitudinal portion for the remainder of the year. Each student is assigned to a community practice for the core specialties (internal medicine, obstetrics, pediatrics, family medicine, and psychiatry) where they see a panel of continuity patients and work-ins. 

Students work one-on-one with their attending physician who reviews each case and care plan with them. If patients are admitted or referred to another provider, students see their patients in the hospital or accompany them to those visits as well.

The Individualization Phase

The fourth year curriculum at Asheville campus reverts to block schedules and presents opportunities for rotations in Asheville and rural WNC, as well as Chapel Hill or across the state, nation, or internationally. 

All required courses and many electives are available in both Asheville and rural settings. A one-month rotation in global health through Shoulder to Shoulder is available to all individualization phase students. Other away rotations are available, if desired.

Admissions Process

The ideal student for this program:

  • Demonstrates flexibility, self-reliance, and internal motivation
  • Has a strong academic record
  • Brings life experiences in self-directed learning and/or work

Also taken into consideration, but not required:

  • Has connections to  Western North Carolina
  • Expressed interest in primary care, surgery, psychiatry and/or rural practice goals

To learn more feel free to contact one of us:

Robyn Latessa, MD, Director and Assistant Dean, robyn.latessa@mahec.net
Sandra Whitlock, MD, Associate Director, sandra.whitlock@mahec.net
Kristin Chally, MD, Assistant Director, kristin.chally@mahec.net
Jessica Poston, Administrative Director, jessica.poston@mahec.net
Gaye Colvin, MLIS, Director of Student Affairs, gaye.colvin@mahec.net
Lisa Keiber, Director of Fourth-Year Student Programming, lisa.keiber@mahec.net
Karen Vernon, Operations Coordinator, karen.vernon@mahec.net 

For detailed curriculum information, please visit: http://www.med.unc.edu/md/asheville.