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Community Colleges Play Essential Role in Physiology Education

Lack of resources is main barrier to successful collaboration

Bethesda, Md. (October 19, 2016)—Up to half of all students earning bachelor of science degrees and 30 percent of first-year medical students attended community college for at least some of their undergraduate education. But despite community colleges serving an important role in the STEM education pipeline, physiology students and faculty at these schools are not getting the same professional development and collaboration opportunities as their counterparts at four-year institutions. Two community college faculty members addressed this disparity at the APS Institute on Teaching and Learning (ITL) meeting. The full article on their presentation is published in Advances in Physiology Education.

Community college is an affordable option for students to pursue undergraduate study in a wide variety of subjects, including STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields. Introductory physiology education courses—sometimes labeled “anatomy and physiology”—cover much, if not all, of the same material regardless of where they are taught (community college or four-year institution). However, community college students and faculty face challenges when seeking resources, such as scholarships or professional development, to continue their studies and develop their research.

Jenny McFarland of Edmonds Community College in Lynwood, Wash., and Pamela Pape-Lindstrom of Everett Community College in Everett, Wash., are calling for more collaboration among faculty and professional associations to level the playing field in physiology education. They outlined a list of actions that professional and scientific societies, research journals, and universities can take to expand collaboration and inclusion of community college students and faculty. Some examples include:

  • discounted memberships to professional societies,
  • invitations to participate in regional professional events, and
  • more open online access to relevant papers and journals.

The full article, “The pipeline of physiology courses in community colleges: to university, medical school, and beyond,” is published ahead of print in Advances in Physiology Education.

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: To schedule an interview with a member of the research team, please contact the APS Communications Office or 301-634-7209. Find more research highlights in the APS Press Room.

Physiology is the study of how molecules, cells, tissues and organs function in health and disease. Established in 1887, the American Physiological Society (APS) was the first U.S. society in the biomedical sciences field. The Society represents more than 10,500 members and publishes 15 peer-reviewed journals with a worldwide readership.

 


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