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In 2002, the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine was established with a $100 million gift from Al and Norma Lerner. The Lerner College of Medicine is a partnership between Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University and offers an innovative medical school program with a mission to train physician investigators. The first class of students was enrolled in 2004.

The Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine (CCLCM) is unique in several other ways:

  • The program requires five (rather than four) years to accommodate the research portion and master’s level research thesis requirement of the curriculum
  • Class size is limited to 32 students
  • The curriculum is problem-based
  • Assessment is portfolio-based
  • Every student receives full tuition scholarship
  • There are no lectures, grades or class ranking

Every aspect of Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine (CCLCM) is focused on training physician investigators, from admissions criteria and supportive financial aid, to curriculum design and student assessment. Students develop the skills of self-directed learning critical for success as both a physician and an investigator.

In addition to a strong medical and science curriculum, students benefit from a solid focus on medical humanities, with the goal of developing physician investigators who appreciate the ethical, historical and human aspects of medicine. A complement to their humanities education is the community service opportunities they pursue.

CCLCM students are involved in two major service efforts each year. Students from CCLCM and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine travel to Peru to provide basic medical care to people in Chincha and the surrounding Sacred Valley region. Called the Peru Heath Outreach Project, this initiative is organized by the medical students. In 2012, 70 volunteers visited 16 sites in the Sacred Valley and helped 3,800 patients. Through the project 3,800 eyeglasses, 1,000 toothbrushes and 800 pairs of shoes were donated.

CCLCM students also run a health clinic serving Cleveland’s Fairfax community. The center aims to address healthcare disparities in the communities surrounding Cleveland Clinic. Called the Community Health Initiative, the program offers blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, height, weight, BMI, body fat, pregnancy and HIV screenings and education. The students provide information about heart disease, hypertension, weight loss, diabetes, women’s and men’s specific health issues, medications and more. Students also play the role of social worker and ensure that patients are connected to the appropriate resources based on their screening results.

CCLCM graduates are highly competitive for academic residencies, matching at prestigious institutions such as Johns Hopkins, Duke, Yale, Massachusetts General, Brigham and Women’s and the Cleveland Clinic.

SHECP Council Member
Dr. Monica Yepes-Rios is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University. She completed her Internal Medicine Residency at The George Washington University Medical Center, and is a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar, Yale University. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Duke University and medical degree from the George Washington University School of Medicine. Dr Yepes-Rios was born in Colombia and has over 25 years’ experience in medical education and internal medicine clinical practice with a special interest in the care of underserved communities, and in advancing diversity and inclusion initiatives in medicine. At the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Yepes-Rios is the CCLCM Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Director of a Longitudinal Learning Programs on Health Systems Science and The Physician and Society, SNMA/LMSA Faculty mentor, and the Cleveland Clinic Representative to the SHECP.