Medical Science Courses

Building the foundation for medical practice

The following are course descriptions for the Medical Sciences curriculum.

Program Guide: MD Degree Program

Semester 1 Medical Science Courses

Introduction to Clinical Medicine I 

Introduction to Clinical Medicine is a four semester clinical skills curriculum presented during the medical sciences years. The curriculum is designed to lay the foundation for the clinical skills essential to the practice of medicine. The program is presented predominantly in small groups so that students have the opportunity to practice their skill under the direct observation of a faculty member. Clinical skills covered include physical examination, interviewing and communication skills. In addition problem solving and presentation of disease is presented through case based learning. Introduction to Clinical Medicine II is the first of the four courses. Students learn communication and relationship building skills through the use of standardized patients. Physical examination skills are presented in an organ based fashion and include the head and neck examas well as vital signs and the cardiovascular examination. Harvey, the cardiac sound simulator, is used to introduce students to the normal heart sounds.

Anatomy/Embryology/Histology

Anatomy / Embryology / Histology focuses on the anatomical basis of clinical medicine. Clinical applications are stressed while formal instruction of the human body’s regional macroscopic and microscopic composition is presented.

Medical Students participate in supervised laboratory sessions that involve dissecting human cadavers, so that they become familiar with human anatomical structures. Basic principles of embryogenesis used in diagnosis, care and prevention of birth defects are stressed, and case studies are introduced throughout the course.

Molecular and Cell Biology I

Molecular Cellular Biology I is designed to help students develop an understanding of the fundamental molecular processes that define human development and homeostasis. This is an introductory course covering the basics of human genetics, protein structure, nucleic acid, biochemistry, cellular structure and metabolism. Throughout the course emphasis is placed on comparison of the normal state with the abnormal one. For this reason, whenever instructive, the core material is accompanied by pertinent clinical correlations that use common, classical conditions.


Semester 2 Medical Science Courses

Molecular and Cell Biology II

Molecular Cellular Biology II develops upon the themes presented in the initial course with exploration of the cell’s nitrogen economy, details of lipid metabolism and the major concepts of nutrition. The biology of cancer provides an introduction to noeplasia (as presented in the pathology courses) and acts as an illustration of the regulation of the cell cycle and the basic science underlying treatment.

The course also includes more in-depth analysis of genetic concepts. Detailed review material is included prior to Biochemistry and Genetics shelf examinations in the latter part of the course.

Physiology I

Physiology I is the foundation course for understanding normal body function. Medical students gain an
appreciation for the balance between and within the various organ systems required to maintain steady
functioning of the human body. The course builds from an early emphasis on the basic principles of
physiology moving on to the exploration of nerve-muscle function involuntary and smooth muscle,
gastrointestinal system, and culminating in a detailed analysis of the heart and vascular system.
Pathophysiology is used to analyze system function and compensation during clinically relevant disease
processes.

Immunology-Infection

Immunology-Infection is designed to help students gain a working knowledge of the immune
system, the development of immune responses to infectious pathogens, and the methodologies used to
measure parameters of the immune response. The course also covers the description, underlying bases,
prevention and treatment of infectious disease and chronic disease resulting from autoimmune responses,
immunodeficiency’s, cancers, and problems encountered in organ transplantation.

Biostatistics/Epidemiology

Statistics are important tools that help us better understand causes and consequences of human medical problems. This course covers the basics of biostatistics and quantitative methods in epidemiology and clinical applications in evidence-based medicine and decision-making methods.

The course also provides students with exposure to the necessary tools for evaluating the medical and epidemiological literature. The philosophical framework and methodology of disease causation, prevention and prediction will be presented.

Introduction to Clinical Medicine 2

Introduction to Clinical Medicine is a four semester clinical skills curriculum presented during the medical science years. The curriculum is designed to lay the foundation for the clinical skills essential to the practice of medicine.

The program is presented predominantly in small groups so that medical students have the opportunity to practice their skill under the direct observation of a faculty member. Clinical skills covered include physical examination, interviewing and communication skills. In addition problem solving and presentation of disease is presented through case based learning. Introduction to Clinical Medicine II is the first of the four courses.

Students learn communication and relationship building skills through the use of standardized patients. Physical examination skills are presented in an organ based fashion and include the head and neck exam as well as vital signs and the cardiovascular examination. Harvey, the cardiac sound simulator, is used to introduce students to the normal heart sounds.
 

Semester 3 Medical Science Courses

Pathology I

Pathology I introduces students to the cellular systems of organs and traces the morphologic changes in a cell that are responsible for disease in organs. As cells undergo alteration, their change in function is studied with respect to its deviation from the “normal” state. Topics such as inflammation, repair and regeneration, neoplasia, genetic basis of diseases and infection are explored.

It then continues the study of pathologic basis of diseases using a physiologic system or organ-based approach. Appropriate use of the laboratory is stressed in the diagnosis of disease while case presentations further emphasize the clinical aspects of the pathologic processes. This course serves as a precursor to Pathology II.

Medical Microbiology

The Medical Microbiology course is designed to give the prospective physician an understanding of the microbial pathogens and the mechanisms by which they cause disease. General microbiology is taught within the context of a syndrome based infectious disease format.

Physiology II

Physiology II continues to build on the foundation established in Physiology I. Students are required to take Physiology I prior to taking Physiology II. The course continues the study of the function of human body organ systems with a comprehensive analysis of the endocrine and reproductive systems. Fluid and electrolyte balance is studied with a detailed analysis of the renal system.

The course is completed with study of the pulmonary system and the analysis of clinically relevant, common acid-base disorders and their physiological compensation. At the end of the course, all medical students will have a firm grasp of body system function and integration of systems. Students will demonstrate the ability to analyze and identify the impact of diseases processes on normal human physiology.

Introduction to Clinical Medicine 3

Introduction to Clinical Medicine III continues to build on the skills presented in the previous semester. As in Introduction to Clinical Medicine II small groups allow students to practice communication skills and physical examination skills under the direct supervision of a faculty member.

The full medical history is presented with an emphasis on prevention and evaluation of risk. Medical documentation and case presentation are introduced. Physical examination skills included in this semester include abnormal heart sounds, thorax and lung exam and the abdominal exam. In order to promote lifelong learning case based learning with required independent research of material is introduced in this semester. Harvey is used to introduce abnormal heart sounds.
 

Semester 4 Medical Science Courses

Pathology II

Pathology II continues to apply the basic concepts learned in Pathology I for the study of pathologic basis of disease using a physiologic system or organ-based approach. This course covers organs and systems not presented in Pathology I. Appropriate use of the laboratory is stressed in the diagnosis of disease while case presentations further emphasize the clinical aspects of the pathologic processes. Successful completion of Pathology I is required to enroll in this course.

Neuroscience

Medical students are required to take Physiology I and II prior to taking the neuroscience course. Neuroscience is a course effectively integrating neurochemistry, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neuropathology, neuropharmacology, and basics of medical neurology. The course serves as a strong foundation for the analysis of common basic clinical neurological disorders. Starting with an intense overview of the nervous systems, the course systematically examines the sensory and motor systems with special emphasis on the plastic changes within each system associated with age, disuse, or lesions. Advanced analysis of cortical function and associated lesions due to stroke, epilepsy, and tumor complete the course. Students successfully completing the course will be able to correctly identify common
neurological deficits.

Medical Pharmacology

Medical Pharmacology concentrates on how chemical agents (drugs) regulate or modify physiological functions of the body. The course demonstrates how interactions of drugs with living organisms contribute to diagnosis, prevention, treatment and/or cure of diseases.

The major emphasis in the first part of the course will be on the general principles of pharmacology (pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, pharmacogenetics, adverse drug reactions, teratogenicity, etc.). The next topic will be drugs affecting the autonomic nervous system, followed by drugs affecting the brain and their use in the treatment of neuropathology.  Subsequent topics will include the pharmacology and therapeutics of drugs used in cancer chemotherapy, infectious diseases, endocrine disorders, respiratory and cardiovascular disorders, inflammatory and immune disorders, and drugs affecting the gastrointestinal tract.  The emphasis will be on prototypical drugs in each class, their mechanism of action, clinical use, side effects and interactions with other drugs. At the end of this course students will take a comprehensive examination covering all the material presented in Medical Pharmacology.

Introduction to Clinical Medicine 4.1

Introduction to Clinical Medicine 4.1 is a continuation of the previous semester’s course with the introduction of the neurological examination and reviewing and expanding the musculoskeletal examination.  Emphasis in this semester begins to shift from basic clinical skills to clinical decision making.  As such interviews shift to more focused interviews with an emphasis on developing and documenting a history of present illness that includes key elements in the history needed to prioritize a differential diagnosis.  Documentation of assessment and plans and progress notes are introduced.

Semester 5 Medical Sciences Courses

Behavioral Science

The behavioral science course is designed to teach essential skills of identification and effective management of patient behavior through practical application of the biopsychosocial model of human behavior. The course will develop skills in the behavioral basis of clinical medicine focusing on mind-body interactions in health and disease, physician-patient interactions, and contemporary social/cultural issues in health care. Interview skills and the assessment of psychosocial risk factors at each stage of human development will be taught. Psychopathology will be presented from the DSM 5 as it applies to primary care, referral, and management. Students will study diagnostic criteria, prevalence rates, differential diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of all major mental disorders. This knowledge will be applied in small group assignments of the clinical medicine curriculum. Clinical case examples in primary care settings will be discussed to prepare students for the Behavioral Subject and the USMLE Step 1 Examination.

Introduction to Clinical Medicine 5.1

This course is predominantly case based learning. Students meet in small groups under the supervisions of a faculty member to discuss cases representing common symptoms such as chest pain or fatigue. Emphasis is on the development of a differential diagnosis, presentation of disease, pathophysiology of disease and initial evaluation and treatment. Students are given the opportunity to present cases in preparation for requirements of the clinical years.

Students perform a physical examination based on a defined checklist of items provided to them when they first start the ICM curriculum. Genital examinations are taught through the use of professional patients. Students also have two clinical experiences with local physicians. Simulations include interviews with standardized patients and emergent scenarios in the high tech simulation center.  Interviewing skills workshops are integrated with Behavioral Science. These sessions include practice in motivational interviewing skills, closing the interview, performing the minimental status examination and documenting the mental status examination. Group interviews include focused visits and full histories and cover topics that include abdominal pain, fatigue, substance abuse, domestic violence and mood disorder.  Each student performs and documents a final complete history in preparation for their clinical clerkships.

Introduction to Clinical Medicine VI

The Introduction to Clinical Medicine VI course comprises two parts, Basic Medical Science Live Reviews and NBME Assessment. The Comprehensive Basic Science, Pathophysiology and Microbiology/Immunology Live Reviews provide an overview of clinical cases and correlations. The focus of the live review is on application and integration of knowledge rather than recall of isolated facts. Students review the Basic Medical Science, individual disciplines and organ systems with the review books and online ebooks. The course is structured with various subject examinations and the
comprehensive examinations to promote improvement in learning and problem solving. Students will take the Diagnostics, which provide a tool for identifying individual’s weaknesses as well as strengths across disciplines and organ systems. The individual scores on the NBME examinations are compared with national norms relevant to the assessment of students’ competencies.

Medical Ethics

Medical Ethics is designed to introduce ethical, professional and legal issues that arise in the practice of medicine. This course provides students with basic tools used to recognize ethical, professional and legal conflicts in clinical settings, as well as resources used to critically examine and address questions and concerns that these conflicts present.