Academic Societies at HMS
All Harvard medical and dental students are members of one of five academic societies. Established in 1987, the Academic Societies exemplify Harvard’s innovative approach to medical education and form an integral part of the HMS experience. The Academic Societies serve as the organizational framework for each student's experience in general medical education. Each Society is supervised by its own faculty members and administrative staff and assigned its own administrative offices, classroom, tutorial rooms, skills and lab areas, and informal meeting spaces.
Students in the New Pathway program are assigned by lot to one of four societies: Walter Bradford Cannon Society, William Bosworth Castle Society, Francis Weld Peabody Society, or the Oliver Wendell Holmes Society. Students in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST) are members of the Irving M. London Society of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. London/HST is an MD program that has a separate curriculum for Years I and II. The Academic Societies provide a community-based approach to medical education, offering many benefits. These include:
- establishing the organizational framework for each student to take full advantage of the many diverse opportunities offered by an HMS education;
- encouraging meaningful student interaction and small-group learning as well as peer-group evaluation and feedback mechanisms that help students develop a team-based investigative approach to the practice of medicine;
- allowing students to build formal four-year mentoring relationships with HMS faculty as well as encouraging a continuous exchange of ideas between students and faculty members through informal and social events.
Situated within the Academic Societies is the Office of Advising Resources. Under the direction of Dr. Laurie Raymond, professional staff provide screening, in-house performance counseling and specialized tutoring, and referral to resources both inside and outside HMS, as appropriate, including neuropsychological testing, medical, and mental health treatment. The Office of Advising Resources also provides a coordinated remediation system for students across the preclinical and clinical years of the curriculum, in collaboration with the Academic Societies and the faculty and administration of both HMS and HSDM.
To create and nurture a diverse community
of the best people committed to leadership in alleviating human suffering caused by disease