It's back to school for Mini Med students

Free program returns to provide boost in body knowledge
By Staff

The 21st annual Mini Med School, which offers an introduction to the science that forms the basis of modern medicine for everyone from kids to grandparents, begins Wednesday, Sept. 15.

The free, eight-week course will be conducted this year for the first time at the Anschutz Medical Campus. The course was created in 1989 by J.J. Cohen, M.D., Ph.D., professor of immunology and medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

The course involves no tests, fees or credit hours, but those who attend six of the eight sessions will receive an unofficial "diploma." The purpose is simply to enlighten participants and help them understand the human body, enabling them to take charge of their health. The program is now copied in more than 100 cities worldwide.

Lectures offered by medical-school faculty and other experts include anatomy and physiology, cell biology, microbiology, immunology, pharmacology and cancer biology. Classes start at 7 p.m. with an hour-long lecture, followed by roughly a half-hour of questions and answers. Participants receive a binder of lecture notes, as well as audio-visual displays.

Mini Med teachers work to make complex material understandable to those who lack technical backgrounds and vocabulary. But Cohen remains proudest of the fact that his lecturers don't "dumb it down."

In its 20 seasons, the Mini Med School has hosted some 17,000 students. Among them this year will be students from Aurora LIGHTS, a partnership between the University of Colorado's Anschutz Medical Campus and the Aurora Public Schools. The program is designed to attract high school students to careers in medicine and science. Medical students will attend each session to work with the teenagers and to answer questions.

The Mini Med School will be fed by satellite to locations around Colorado. Participants must register. Registration links and more information are available at

If your location of choice is full, you will be placed on a waiting list. If you don't have web access, please call 303-724-0348.