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Mayo medical students to study at Cronkite School

February 25, 2010

Two leading institutions in their respective fields – Mayo Clinic and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication – are joining forces to give future physicians intensive cross-platform journalism training.

The Mayo-Cronkite Fellowship will bring students from Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minn., to Phoenix following their second year of medical studies for a condensed one-year master’s program at Arizona State University’s (ASU) nationally recognized journalism school.

Mayo-Cronkite Fellows will return to Rochester for their final two years of medical studies following the year-long immersion in journalism. Officials anticipate enrolling the first Mayo-Cronkite Fellows in August.

The new dual-degree program is part of Mayo’s interdisciplinary approach to medical education. “Mayo Medical School is pioneering a fundamentally new way of educating physicians for the 21st century,” said Dr. Keith D. Lindor, dean of Mayo Medical School. “Our reason: We see health care challenges ahead that will require far more creative, interdisciplinary problem solving from physicians than ever before.”

Following their second year of medical school, the Mayo-Cronkite Fellows will enroll in the Cronkite School, completing the 15-month master’s program in 12 months.  The fellows will study under Professor Ed Sylvester, a leading medical journalist and author of five books.

They also will take a full complement of graduate courses that focuses on the newest digital media techniques and cross-platform storytelling in addition to traditional journalism skills and values. The fellows will study with leading journalists on the Cronkite faculty, including former Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr., former Minneapolis Star Tribune Editor Tim McGuire, former CNN anchor Aaron Brown and Pulitzer winning investigative reporter Steve Doig.

“We’re very excited about this new collaboration that brings together national leaders in their respective fields of study,” said Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan. “The Mayo-Cronkite program will produce leading physicians who have the ability to tell important, complex and nuanced medical stories to wide audiences on any platform – print, broadcast or online. That is a rare and powerful combination of skills.”

The Mayo-Cronkite Fellowship is the latest collaboration between ASU and Mayo. The institutions already have a joint medical-law degree program, a seed grant program for research projects and a physician-shadowing program for undergraduates in ASU’s Barrett Honors College.

Mayo Clinic, ranked second among the nation’s best hospitals by U.S. News, is the first and largest integrated, not-for-profit medical practice in the world. Based in Rochester, Minn., Mayo has a major presence in Arizona with a Scottsdale facility that provides specialties and surgical care in more than 65 disciplines and the 244-bed Mayo Clinic Hospital in northeast Phoenix.

The Cronkite School, named in honor of the late CBS Evening News anchor, has enjoyed unprecedented growth since President Michael Crow made it an independent school in 2005.

During the past four years, Cronkite moved into its $71 million state-of-the-art digital media complex in downtown Phoenix, doubled its faculty and staff, and added new programs such as the Carnegie-Knight News21 Digital Media Initiative, the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship, Cronkite News Service, the New Media Innovation Lab, ABC News on Campus and the Multimedia Reporting Program. Cronkite NewsWatch, the school’s 30-minute nightly newscast, airs on PBS, reaching more than 1 million households across Arizona.