For the past 3 years, I have served as a mentor for 24 medical students, a cohort of the first-year class at a medical school in Southern California. On Monday afternoons we meet in their MDL, or Multidisciplinary Lab, where we follow a curriculum designed to foster professional development, providing exposure to topics as varied as medical ethics, complementary and alternative medicine, or the role of the physician in society.
The transformation of medical students into medical professionals is a complex process that involves numerous developmental stages occurring at largely unpredictable rates and manifesting over the career of a physician.1 This intricate process, balanced on so many fulcra, is inevitably influenced by forces that may seem unrelated, remote, or even insidious. Take something away here, and the effects may be felt in many different areas at once, some seen, some unseen, some evident only over time. Seeking to teach such a complex set of skills and attitudes is therefore an ever-evolving challenge.