Learning communities are intentionally developed longitudinal groups of faculty and students that aim to enhance students' medical school experience and maximize learning. By grouping students into one of four learning communities from the first day of medical school, SMHS provides a more individualized experience to its students. The supportive environment of a learning community also offers longitudinal mentoring relationships with faculty role models. Each learning community has approximately 45 students and several dedicated faculty members, including physicians, basic science, and librarian mentors. Each of the four learning communities is further broken into five or six small groups of eight to nine students. Small or combined learning community groups are used for formal education in the curriculum (professional development and clinical skills and reasoning small groups), community service activities, and more informal, collegial activities such as our "Big Sib" program and the SMHS student Olympics. Faculty members in the learning communities provide an extensive network of advisors and mentors with whom students will interact during their four years. Each learning community is assigned to an advisory dean, who helps students with career advice, senior elective scheduling, and the residency match.