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MCS Independent Learning Opportunities

Independent Learning Opportunities allow you to take advantage of the many learning experiences that are part of a teaching hospital. These include, but are not limited to: Grand Rounds sponsored by the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics; Grand Rounds held by other departments in the HSC on Social and Ethical Issues; Schwartz rounds; and Student interest group presentations; etc.

You must attend at least four sessions during the course.

At least two sessions must be on the level of departmental Grand Rounds.

For the next two you may also choose from Grand rounds or from activities of student run groups and discussions, discussions run by MCS faculty, or a RSOM community service project (see the guidelines below).

In addition – one of the sessions may be any activity that you find enriching to your professional development as a physician. Examples are participating in student chorus (Lymph Notes), attending the Donor Recognition Ceremony, or anything at all you judge to be beneficial.

For each session you will keep a written reflection which you can upload to your section faculty. The series of four must be completed by last day of class in May of your first academic year. Your faculty will also use these to provide additional comments on your interest in Ethics and Humanities.

Obtaining Credit for ILO’s completed

Three steps:

  1. Attend the event
  2. Write a reflection and upload it to your MCS faculty leaders within one week of the learning opportunity.

Reflection Guide:

  • Your reflection should be a single page.
  • Begin by describing the event. Topic, Date, Presenter. Remember that your faculty mentor may not have been at the event.
  • The main part of the reflection should deal with your reaction to the experience, its relevance to you as a physician, and its connection to humanities and ethics.

 Upcoming ILO Events at the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics

Date Time Topic Event Flyer
Thursday, September 29, 2022 4:30pm- 6:00pm

Dignity for Deeply Forgetful People
Stephen G. Post, PhD

Learn More
Thursday, October 20, 2022 4:30pm- 6:00pm

Warp Speed, the Right to Try, Real World Evidence and the Future of the Ethics of Clinical Research
Arthur Caplan, PhD

Learn More
Thursday,  November 3, 2022 4:30pm- 6:00pm

Intersectional Stigma Experiences Among People Who Inject Drugs: A Case Study of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis for HIV Prevention Inequities
Suzan Walters, PhD

Learn More
Thursday, November 17, 2022 4:30pm- 6:00pm

Flourishing as the Goal of Compassionate Healthcare?
Matthew T. Lee, PhD

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Thursday, December 1, 2022 4:30pm- 6:00pm

Embedding Music in Care
Dan Cohen, MSW

Learn More

 For more information visit Center Events

Other upcoming ILO Events

Date Time Topic Event Flyer
Thursday, September 1, 2022 11:30am

Emergency Medicine Grand Rounds
Compassionate Connected Care for the Caregiver and Patient

Learn More


Community Service as an ILO (Independent Learning Opportunity)

In MCS it is possible to complete 1 ILO by participating in a community service project which meets the following criteria.


  1. The project must be mentored by a SUNY SOM Faculty Member and must be an activity of the School and/or University. (It must be a Stony Brook Activity)
  2. The nature of the service must be patient centered and humanitarian in nature. So, for example, it would not be community service to tutor your classmates or organize notes or study guides for a course.
  3. The project must be organized and generally involve 3 or more members of your class. This requirement is important as it is a LCME touchstone for service learning.)
  4. The service must take place on at least 3 occasions and involve at least 6 hours of service cumulatively.
  5. The service must take place in the first 9 months of Phase 1 – between September 1 and the last meeting of MCS before the summer break in May.
  6. The mentor must agree to receive a reflection journal form you and provide a note to your section faculty that you have completed the work. The mentor may include a short paragraph concerning your participation
  7. Some examples of excellent and approved projects:
    1. Magic Aid
    2. SB Home (our free clinic)
    3. Smile Buddies / Healthy Kids
  8. Some examples of activities that are not eligible
    1. Health Fairs (screenings or one day information sessions)
    2. Giving tours of the med school and similar ambassador programs