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Medical school earns fourth Apple honor for innovation and creativity

UC Irvine School of Medicine leaders receive Apple's Distinguished School award.
Steve Zylius / UC Irvine Strategic Communications
UC Irvine School of Medicine leaders, from left, Assistant Dean Julie Youm, PhD; Vice Dean Khanh-Van Le-Bucklin, MD; Dean Michael J. Stamos, MD, and Associate Dean Warren Wiechmann, MD, receive the Apple Distinguished School Award.

The distinguished school award recognizes impact of the far-reaching iMedEd Initiative

The UC Irvine School of Medicine has again been recognized as an Apple Distinguished School for continuous innovation in learning, teaching and its education environment.

The 2017-2019 distinguished school designation is the fourth award to the medical school, which in 2010 launched its iMedEd Initiative to incorporate innovative technologies to redefine medical education and advance clinical skills for the 21st century.

The first Apple award came in 2012, after UC Irvine became one of earliest medical schools in the nation to use the iPad as a catalyst for its digital curriculum reform as part of the initiative.

The medical school has since adopted many smart phone-based advances that are turning the modern doctor’s bag into the equivalent of a high-tech mobile clinic. It also has graduated more than 500 digitally literate physicians who are transforming the medical field.

UC Irvine "has reinvented the traditional … curriculum by building a digital, interactive learning classroom and clinical training environment," Apple said on its website.

"As a pioneer in educational technology, UC Irvine is proud to receive the Apple Distinguished School award four consecutive times," said Khanh-Van Le-Bucklin, MD, UC Irvine's vice dean of medical education. "This speaks to the innovative and dynamic spirit that has become a trademark of our school."

Warren Wiechmann, MD, associate dean of clinical science education and educational technology, credited the medical school’s leadership for the transformation reflected by the award.

"We have had incredible support from our deans, faculty, staff —and mostly our students," he said. "Without them, this initiative would not have been possible.

"We’ve seen that our students are not just digitally literate, but are excelling and are becoming innovators in using emerging technologies for their education and the care of their patients."

Over the last eight years, the iMedEd Initiative has replaced paper-based curriculum materials with online texts, applications and resources. Using iTunes U courses and blogs, the program also serves as a hub to share communications and best practices worldwide in healthcare higher education, including nursing and pharmacy.

It also sponsors campus-wide “AppJam” competitions that allow students to work in cross-disciplinary teams, designing and developing mobile healthcare apps. This format is also used for Med iBookJam competitions, in which faculty and students redesign curriculum and patient education materials as interactive Multi-Touch books.