About the Longwood Seminars

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About the Longwood Seminars Mini-Med School Classes:

What is Mini-Med School?

Each spring, Harvard Medical School's Office of Communications and External Relations organizes a series of four free “mini-med school” classes for the general public in the heart of Boston’s Longwood Medical Area. At the end of the seminar series, participants who attend three out of the four sessions receive a certificate of completion. Topics are selected for their appeal to a lay audience and have included the human genome, nutrition, sleep dynamics and health care access. Faculty from Harvard Medical School and its affiliate hospitals volunteer their time to present these lectures to the community.

What do Mini-Med School students and real Harvard Medical students have in common?

  • The same faculty
  • The same lecture halls

How is Mini-Med School different?

  • No science background needed
  • No exams
  • No tuition -- all classes are FREE!

What happens at a Longwood Seminars Mini–Med School class?

  • Harvard Medical faculty present an overview of a medical topic – including basic physiology, state-of-the-art clinical treatments and relevant research
  • During the Q&A session, students have a chance to pose their questions to the experts
  • Students receive a class–specific packet of educational resource materials
  • Students earn a Mini–Med School certificate of completion if they attend three or more classes
  • Public school teachers can earn 10 PDPs if they attend all four classes and complete the assessment form for each session

What will I learn about?

Since 2001, attendees of the Mini-Med School program have learned about a broad range of topics, including: the human genome, nutrition, autism, sleep dynamics and health care access.


2017 Season

Resistance Movement: Drugs, bugs and the fight against über-germs

With many bacteria becoming impervious to drugs, new approaches are needed to combat the rise of antibiotic resistance. In this seminar, Harvard scientists and clinicians will discuss the history of drug resistance, how bacteria become able to shrug off the medications we use to treat disease, and ways to address the crisis.

Download supplemental reading materials

2014 Season:

The Eyes Have It: Why and how you see
Our eyes are small machines containing complex circuitry and our understanding of this machinery advances every day.

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Healthy Mind, Healthy Body: Benefits of exercise
Learn about the science behind exercise, how it contributes to physical and mental health, as well as tips for maintaining a healthy exercise regimen.

Download supplemental reading materials

Up Close and Personal: Genetics and you
Physicians, scientists, and ethicists alike are grappling with the myriad of issues that the unfolding genetic revolution is raising.

Download supplemental reading materials

Sound and Fury: Understanding post-traumatic stress disorder
Scientists and clinicians are examining the scientific underpinnings of PTSD in an effort to better understand it and care for patients effectively.

Download supplemental reading materials

2013 Season:

Food and Vitamins and Supplements! Oh My!
Demystifying nutrition: the value of food, vitamins and supplements

Download the supplemental reading materials.

The Power of Zzzzs
Uncovering why sleep is essential to our well-being & how to get more of it

Download the supplemental reading materials.

It’s All In Your Head
Building better brains through neuroengineering

Download the supplemental reading materials.

Beyond Belief
Exploring the connection between personal beliefs and physical health

Download the supplemental reading materials.

2012 Season:

Patience and Patients
Understanding the spectrum of Alzheimer's disease

Singing in the Shower to Shaking in Your Boots
The science of emotion

Panning for Therapeutic Gold
Cancer genetics

Haute Culture
Tailoring stem cells to make us well

2011 Season:

The Race to Grace
Surviving stress

Living Long, Living Well
Aging with flourish

From Vision to Touch
Exploring the five senses

Food for Thought
Genetically modified nourishment