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 35 Application Phase 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
  • Active, hands-on roles with patients
  • Flexibility of unscheduled half days for self-directed learning

The Application Phase

The Application Phase academic calendar at Asheville is comprised of three blocks with a mix of two types of clinical experiences. The inpatient experience is 15 weeks and includes surgery, internal medicine, psychiatry, pediatrics, cardiology, and OB/GYN. In addition, students complete (20) 5-hour emergency medicine shifts throughout the course of the year. The remainder of the weeks are spent in the longitudinal outpatient setting.

The three blocks are as follows:

  • Block A – 12 weeks Inpatient/3 weeks of Flex
    • Flex Weeks
      • These weeks are not consecutive, but rather they are spread out over the trimester
      • These can be used for studying, assignments, research, exploring specialty interests, ED shifts, making up clinical time, shelf exams, additional inpatient/outpatient time, etc.
  • Block B – 15 weeks Outpatient
    • Students will receive a personalized outpatient schedule with assigned preceptors for family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, and OB/GYN
    • Students will work one-on-one with their preceptors and have the opportunity to follow continuity patients throughout their longitudinal outpatient time
  • Block C – 12 weeks Outpatient/3 weeks Inpatient
    • Student inpatient weeks in this block will be consecutive to allow for maximum continuity
    • Student outpatient preceptors and schedule will stay the same for Blocks B & C

The Individualization Phase

The fourth year curriculum reverts to block months. Asheville campus students have the same fourth year requirements as Chapel Hill students. 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 students. Students are able to do other away rotations 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
Michelle Boose, MD, Campus Advisor, michelle.boose@mahec.net
Jessica Poston, Administrative Director, jessica.poston@mahec.net
Lisa Keiber, Director of Fourth-Year Student Programming, lisa.keiber@mahec.net
Karen Vernon, Curriculum Coordinator, karen.vernon@mahec.net 
Angela Holland, MPH, Operations Coordinator, Angela.Holland@mahec.net

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