A: The Colorado Springs Branch (CSB) is the first Regional Medical Campus for the University of Colorado School of Medicine. The CSB accepts up to 24 students each year. These students will complete their 3rd year (Phase III) core clerkship rotations in Colorado Springs.
The vision for the CSB is to develop 21st Century physician leaders who will deliver high value care to patients and improve the health of the community.
A: To help develop the next generation of physician leaders, the CSB is transforming and integrating medical education and health care delivery systems through our Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (LIC) model. In addition, the CSB curriculum provides extra emphasis on leadership development and community engagement through our Community Leadership Curriculum, Partnership Education Action (PEAK) projects, Quality Improvement (QI) projects, and other community-based service learning curricula.
For more information on the Community Leadership Curriculum and PEAK projects view the PEAK document, or visit our Peak page.
A: The CSB accepts up to 24 students per class who will complete their 3rd year (Phase III) core clerkship rotations in Colorado Springs. Most CSB students are selected after acceptance to CU School of Medicine and prior to the start of 1st year (Phase I). Here are the steps for showing interest in the CSB and how students are selected into the CSB:
• Students applying to CUSOM can express their interest in the CSB during secondary application process. Interest in the CSB at this time is non-binding. Students may also submit an essay demonstrating your interest in the CSB with the secondary application.
• Students invited for an interview at CSUOM will receive additional info on the CSB and can ask questions of a CSB representative on interview day.
• After being notified of their acceptance to CUSOM by the Assistant Dean for Admissions, students will receive a campus preference form (Branch Preference Sheet) in their admissions packet. This preference sheet must be returned within 2 weeks. The campus preference indicated on this sheet is binding.
• All students who are accepted to CUSOM who express a preference or willingness to be selected into the CSB will receive a phone call and email from the Associate Dean for CSB to discuss the student’s interest in the CSB and to answer any questions.
• All students accepted into CUSOM are invited to attend CSB Preview Day that occurs in the Spring on the day prior to CUSOM Second Look Day. CSB Preview Day is a great opportunity to visit Colorado Springs and meet with current CSB students, faculty, and leadership.
• In April of the current year’s admissions cycle, the CSB selection committee will review all students accepted into CUSOM and select up to 24 students from incoming class into the CSB cohort. Students will be selected based on their level of interest and “fit” for the CSB.
• Once students are selected into the CSB, that decision is final. However, students who experience a demonstrable economic or personal hardship after selection into the CSB may file a formal appeal to be reassigned to the Anschutz Medical Campus for Phase III.
• Current Phase II CUSOM students who develop an interest in joining the CSB can apply to fill any open slots in the upcoming Phase III CSB cohort up to a total of 24 students in that cohort.
A: CSB students during Phase III will participate in the Colorado Springs Mentored Integrated Curriculum (COSMIC). COSMIC is a version of a Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (LIC) model. Although the structure of COSMIC is quite different from the traditional specialty block model for most Anschutz Medical Campus (AMC) students, all CSB students are evaluated based on the same learning objectives, goals, competencies, and clinical conditions as AMC students. To meet LCME accreditation standards, CUSOM must ensure that all CSB and AMC students receive comparable experiences during Phase III.
AMC students in the third-year block model learn a single specialty at a time in blocks ranging from 2-8 weeks in duration. In COSMIC, CSB students spend approximately the first 2 months in “inpatient immersion” rotations. These are 1-2 week rotations in surgery, anesthesiology, internal medicine, pediatrics, labor and delivery and psychiatry. During the remaining 10 months of COSMIC, CSB students complete all 10 of the core Phase III specialties at the same time throughout the year. Students spend 2-4 half-days per month on average in each specialty, mostly in the outpatient setting, depending on the length of the specialty block during Phase III. Additional required and selective inpatient experiences are scheduled throughout the year.
A: The main benefits of COSMIC, our LIC model, is that our students experience the benefits of patient and preceptor continuity. Students have the opportunity to follow patients longitudinally across health care systems to experience a patient-centered perspective on health care. For example, students may follow a pregnant patient, help in the delivery of her baby, and then follow up in clinic with both the mother and newborn for postpartum care and well-child check-ups.
Typically, CSB students also get to work with the same attending in each specialty throughout the entire year. As a result, the CSB students are the primary learner for each attending, since there are very few residents in Colorado Springs. The attending preceptor, who can also serve as a mentor, can participate in the student’s knowledge and skill development over the course of the year and can provide progressive levels of health care team and patient care responsibility to the student. The other main benefit for CSB students is having 2-3 half-days per week of Clinical Enrichment time. During this self-directed learning time, students can participate in longitudinal patient care or schedule additional clinical opportunities for career exploration.
The main challenge of COSMIC is a clinical schedule that is quite variable at the beginning of the year. Students have a different inpatient experience every week during the course of the first 2 months and then experience a different specialty every half-day throughout the remaining 10 months during. Although this is challenging at the beginning, most students in LIC models become comfortable with their schedules in about 3-4 months. Following the first 2-3 months of the year, the schedules for CSB students are fairly stable among required experiences, but retain the flexibility for students to add clinical enrichment experiences.
A: Most CSB students spend their inpatient clinical time at Memorial Central and North Hospitals, which are operated by UC Health (the same system that runs University Hospital on the Anschutz Medical Campus). Some students spend time at Penrose Hospital and St. Francis Medical Center, which are operated by Centura Health. Some students also receive clinical experiences at Evans Army Community Hospital (EACH). EACH is located on the Fort Carson Army Base and serves a local population of about 75,000 active duty and retired military. In 2019, Children’s Hospital of Colorado will open a brand new Children’s Hospital in Colorado Springs, which will serve as the primary location for inpatient pediatric education for CSB students.
Outpatient experiences during COSMIC occur at the above institutions and at many other group and private practice locations throughout the Colorado Springs area. Key outpatient partners include Kaiser Permanente, the VA, Peak Vista, Aspen Pointe, DaVita, Mountain View Medical Group, as well as dozens of private practice physician groups.
The CSB is grateful to all of its clinical partners and physicians for volunteering their time to educate our future physician leaders in a community-based fashion.
Below are our lists of past Faculty Teaching Award winners:
A: National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) subject (shelf) exams are taken by all CUSOM students in the following subjects: Ambulatory Medicine, Clinical Neurology, Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Surgery. There are two additional pass/fail exams in Emergency Medicine and Musculoskeletal Medicine. In COSMIC, CSB students take all exams starting about 5 months into Phase III and complete their last exam at the end of month 12 with each exam spaced between 2-4 weeks apart.
Although most exams are taken prior to completion of all clinical experiences in each particular specialty, performance on each exam mostly reflects test preparation through the recommended reading material rather than actual clinical experience (which is true both for students in LIC and block models). For the CSB Class of 2018 (inaugural class), this class mean scores on all NBME subject exams exceeded the national mean scores and the mean scores for the Anschutz Medical Campus students.
The added benefit of taking exams early in the year in the COSMIC model is that students can continue to apply the knowledge learned from exam preparation in their clinical settings throughout the remainder of the year.
A: CSB students have the same experience during Phases I and II as the remaining CUSOM students on the Anschutz Medical Campus. CSB students do not move to Colorado Springs until the beginning of Phase III. CSB students are assigned to Problem Based Learning (PBL) groups with other CSB students (total 8 students per group) and are assigned to select Advisory Colleges that contain both CSB students and AMC students from all classes. CSB leadership make scheduled and as-needed visits to the Anschutz Medical Campus to answer questions and provide support to CSB students during Phases I and II.8
A: According to several national publications, Colorado Springs is one of the most desirable cities to live in in the country (www.visitcos.com). In fact, in 2018 it was rated No. 1 most desirable place to live! It is also more affordable and has less traffic than living in the Denver area. Although Colorado Springs has a small-town feel at times, it is currently the 41st largest city in the country (larger than Miami, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and New Orleans, for example) with nearly 450,000 people and it is rapidly growing.
CSB students spend their first 2 years (Phases I and II) living in the Denver/Aurora area. After completion of Phase II and prior to the start of Phase III, CSB students will move to the Colorado Springs area for the entirety of Phase III, which lasts 12 months. At the completion of Phase III, CSB students may choose to live in Colorado Springs for Phase IV or move back to the Denver/Aurora area. CSB students are required to complete one 4-week subinternship rotation during Phase IV in the Denver area; however, students may choose to complete the remaining Phase IV electives in Denver/Aurora, Colorado Springs, or other locations across Colorado or the United States.
Bases on the location of where students choose to live in Colorado Springs, students can submit preferences for clinical practices near where they live to minimize the amount of driving during Phase III.
For more information on moving to/from Colorado Springs as a CSB student, contact Erik Wallace, MD, Associate Dean for CSB, at firstname.lastname@example.org who can connect you to current CSB students.
A: CSB students have access to the same academic, career, and financial support, as all CUSOM students do, through the Office of Student Life (OSL). OSL representatives are available by phone, video conference, and in-person at the CSB during regularly scheduled visits or by appointment. CSB students also have access to local advisors in addition to designated specialty advisors on the main campus.
The administrative and teaching space for the CSB is located on the 4th floor of the Lance Center for Academic Health Sciences, located on the University of Colorado Colorado Springs Campus (UCCS). This location includes dedicated space for the CSB leadership team, individual study space with lockable storage for each student, desktop computers, wifi access, a small medical library, small group rooms, a kitchen, a classroom with video conferencing capabilities, an outdoor deck, and indoor common spaces with comfortable chairs/couches with views of Pikes Peak and the UCCS campus.
The CSB covers the cost of UCCS student fees for on-campus student services such as the UCCS library and the Gallogly Recreation and Wellness Center which includes a gym, pool, other recreational facilities, and the student health center. CSB students can access medical and mental health services here. Some services may require a copay or fees depending on insurance coverage.
Like all CUSOM students, CSB students can also choose to pay for parking in designated areas on the UCCS campus. However, most CSB students do not pay for parking when in Colorado Springs as ample free parking near the Lane Center is available at this time. Parking is also free in designated areas at all CSB clinical sites.
A: In addition to the strong performance of CSB students on the NBME subject exams, CSB students hold many leadership roles throughout CUSOM and their respective classes on the Anschutz Medical Campus. CSB students have also been successful at receiving awards and recognition within their respective classes. See next FAQ regarding the residency match.
To view the leadership roles held by CSB students within the CUSOM student body, and awards and recognition received by CSB students, please click on (CSB student leadership and awards)11
A: The goal of the CSB is to help all CSB students become competitive applicants for residency programs in any specialty. CSB students have scored above the national average on NBME subject exams and obtain strong letters of recommendation from Phase III faculty that they have worked with for the entire year. All CSB students achieve the same Phase III goals, objectives, and competencies and see the same required clinical conditions compared will all other students at CUSOM. CSB students have access to the same specialty advisors, Advisory College Program faculty, financial aid support, and support from the Office of Student Life (OSL) as all other CUSOM students. Specialty advisors and OSL faculty and staff from the Anschutz Medical Campus also make regularly scheduled visits to meet face-to-face with CSB students.
The first cohort of CSB students from the Class of 2018 had a very successful match into a variety of specialties. We are very proud of their success. Click HERE to see match results.
A: All CSB students will engage with a community organization as part of their Partner Education Action (PEAK) project. Prior to the start of Phase II, CUSOM students have the opportunity to participate in a 2-day experiential poverty immersion known as the Poverty Immersion in Colorado Springs (PICOS). Each November, CSB students can volunteer to help raise donations to support youth homeless services during Urban Peak’s Night Out to End Youth Homelessness. In 2017, we established a student-run free clinic (see FAQ for more details). Students can also opt to dedicate their 4-year Mentor Scholarly Activity (MSA) to community-based research or advocacy.
A: Currently, there are only a few residency opportunites in Colorado Springs: Pathology at Penrose/St. Francis and Family Medicine at Peak Vista Community Health Centers. The Surgery residency program at CUSOM send residents for 1-month rotations at Memorial Hospital. Discussions are currently underway about starting additional residency training programs in the future in Colorado Springs, but no timetable is currently available.
Since Colorado Springs is a rapidly growing community and has not produced any new physicians from residency training in many years, the local community has a physician shortage in almost all specialties. There are many job opportunities throughout each specialty in Colorado Springs and surrounding communities. The community is excited to collaboratively train 21st Century physician leaders who hopefully return to Colorado Springs and surrounding areas to practice.
A: As a CSB student, you may apply for and participate in any of the Tracks currently offered by CUSOM. These tracks include CU-UNITE, Global Health, LEADS, Research, and Rural. Most tracks do not have any, or have minimal, required elements during Phase III. CSB students who are part of the Rural Track will likely experience rural opportunities in Southern Colorado.
For more information on the Rural Track and the details of this experience as a CSB student, please contact the Director of the Rural Track, Mark Deutchman, MD, at email@example.com
15 A: Please contact Erik Wallace, MD, Associate Dean for Colorado Springs Branch, if you have any questions regarding the CSB. You may reach Dr. Wallace by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to speak with a CSB student, Dr. Wallace can provide you with a list of students to contact.