Class is in Session: New Regional Medical Campus Creates Promising Futures


The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and LifeBridge Health welcomes students to a new Regional Medical Campus at Sinai Hospital. 

On April 17, 11 third-year medical students from the George Washington University (GW) stepped foot onto the grounds of Sinai Hospital to embark on a unique learning journey at a newly established Regional Medical Campus (RMC). The idea to launch an undergraduate medical education program stemmed from discussions dating back to 2018, with the goals of training physicians who may choose to remain in the Baltimore region, as well as to help recruit and retain talented physicians with a strong interest in undergraduate medical education for LifeBridge Health. All that was left was finding the perfect partner to make the vision a reality. 

“Sinai Hospital already had several established residency programs, but we knew that an affiliation with a top-tier medical school to form an RMC would bring with it an elevated level of academic prestige to Sinai’s long history of delivering outstanding medical education,” shares Matthew Poffenroth, M.D., senior vice president and chief physician executive of LifeBridge Health, and president of LifeBridge Health Medical Group. “GW was one of the schools we reached out to because of its elevated academic quality, workforce-driven mission and population health-focused curriculum that matched our clinical environment.”

With the RMC model—accredited by the Liaison Committee for Medical Education, the nationally recognized accrediting authority for U.S. medical education programs—GW medical students start at the university’s main campus in Washington, D.C., and then transition to Baltimore to complete their final two years of clinical rotations at LifeBridge Health. “Securing clinical training sites for medical students can actually be a challenge, especially for certain specialties,” shares Raymond Lucas, M.D., senior associate dean of GW Regional Medical Campus. “At our main campus, we currently have class sizes of 180 people, but at the new RMC, classes will be more intimate with a maximum of 30 students.”

In addition to smaller class sizes, RMC students will not have to move to various locations for their rotations—meaning they can build close relationships with LifeBridge Health Medical Group renowned physicians. With Sinai Hospital being the RMC’s main base, LifeBridge Health and GW worked together to design a new student lounge and simulation center to enhance the scholastic environment at the hospital. “The new simulation center is a truly immersive experience,” says Dr. Poffenroth. “We upgraded our mannequin-based sim center with a new section devoted to standardized patients where actors come in and interact with the students for life-like learning.”

Currently, students have completed an in-depth orientation, clinical practice introductions and initial skills practice sessions in the simulation center, and they’re ready to begin their clinical rotations. “It’s really beneficial that these medical students will be working in a full-service health system—it’s a very instructive model for clinical training,” adds Dr. Lucas. “Students will have the opportunity to rotate in medicine, surgery and other departments for electives.” 

Both LifeBridge Health and GW leadership hope to increase collaboration for research and other educational training programs, such as physician assistant and physical therapy programs, but for now, the organizations are devoted to awarding scholarships to current and prospective RMC students, recruiting physician educators and providing the most advantageous medical school experience for those enrolled in the program.

“This wouldn’t be possible without philanthropic support,” shares Dr. Lucas. “From the student lounge to the scholarships, LifeBridge Health’s donor base has helped shape this development.

"Looking to the future, the campus plans to have a cohort of 30 third-year and 30 fourth-year GW medical students who will successfully complete the program and potentially find their perfect career fit at LifeBridge Health. “We hope they graduate medical school, join one of our residency programs and ultimately decide to join LifeBridge Health Medical Group to serve patients in our community,” says Dr. Poffenroth.

Photo: Medical students from the George Washington University meet with hospitalists Sonia Sugumar, M.D., and Shashi Yalamanchili, M.D., as part of the newly established Regional Medical Campus at Sinai Hospital.