Mysteries of touch, wise use of alternative therapies, are among the topics for UCSF's second Mini M

By Kevin Boyd

After a sold out session last fall, the UCSF Mini Medical School returns on
April 5 for a spring semester of classes for the general public. 

The spring 2000 sessions, entitled “Health Sense from Health Science,” will
feature talks on the safety and efficacy of alternative and complementary
therapies, the effects of human touch on health and development, and the
potentially dangerous interactions of drugs and herbal remedies. (See attached
schedule for a complete list of course topics.)

Six of UCSF’s most outstanding faculty members will teach two-hour classes on
six successive Wednesday nights.  In addition to being leading researchers in
their fields, the Mini Medical school faculty members are among the most
experienced teachers in UCSF’s medical, dental, pharmacy, and nursing schools.

A limited number of participants also will attend elective lab sessions, in
which they can see the tiny worms that may hold the key to longer life, get a
close-up (but safe) view of the microbes responsible for public health
problems, and take part in a meditation session to enhance self awareness.

The classes, question-and-answer periods, and lab visits will help Mini Medical
School participants to become more knowledgeable consumers of health services,
to learn techniques to prevent illness, and to make more healthful lifestyle
decisions.The spring sessions will build on the success of the 1999 fall program, says
Allan Basbaum, PhD, course director for the spring sessions and a UCSF
professor and chair in the department of anatomy.  “It is our hope that the
spring program will continue to help Mini Medical School participants build a
knowledge base for more fully understanding the impact of the health sciences
research that promises to better our lives in the 21st century,” he said.

The Mini Medical School concept was pioneered at the University of Colorado
Health Sciences Center in Denver in 1990, and has appeared since then in
similar forms at the National Institutes of Health and at health science
universities in New York City and other communities across the country with
phenomenal success. Classes have drawn 250 to 600 people, with waiting lists of
up to 1300.

There will be no homework, papers or exams.  Those who attend all six sessions
will receive an honorary diploma. 

The series, which will run from April 5 through May 17, is open to anyone
interested in learning more about the concepts and processes of human health
and biology.  Space is limited, and registrations will be accepted on a
first-come, first-served basis.

Classes will be held on UCSF’s main campus, 513 Parnassus Ave., from 7 to 9 pm.

For this special event only, parking is $3 per session in the campus garage.

The fee for the series is $40; registration for individual classes cannot be
accepted.  Registration is by mail and requires your name, address, city, state
and zip code plus daytime phone. 

To register, send information and check, payable to UC Regents, to UCSF Mini
Medical School, Public Affairs, Box 0462, San Francisco, Calif., 94143.  For
additional information, call (415) 476-2557.