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Preclinical Curriculum: Year 1

Curriculum Organization - Year I (36 weeks)

(Length of all blocks is approximate. See block schedule for actual dates. See MedScope for course details.)

Introduction to Clinical Medicine (Year Long)

Introduction to Clinical Medicine is a course created to teach aspects of ethics, human behavior, sexuality, nutrition, interviewing and diagnosis issues, the doctor – patient relationship and professionalism. The course will be conducted in small group format one afternoon a week throughout the year. Each small group of students will be led by one preceptor or group of preceptors. Evaluation will include attendance, small group participation, written exercises, and the successful completion of three standardized patient interviews.  

Block II - Structure and Development (10 weeks)

A comprehensive overview of the morphological and developmental organization of the human body is provided. The basic concepts of structure as related to function are described in lectures and demonstrations. Study includes all levels from gross morphology to the ultrastructure of cells revealed by electron microscopy. Laboratory facilities for gross examination are provided for dissection, topographical study, osteology and radiology. Light microscopical laboratories are available for study of histological preparations of human tissue and for correlation of tissues studied at this level with electron micrographs. The course also includes instruction in living anatomy, radiology and clinical correlation. Laboratory instructors include anatomists, surgeons and radiologists. The interdependence between structure and function in the different tissues and organs of the body is emphasized. 

Block III - Cell and Molecular Biology (9 weeks)

It is clear that, as biotechnology develops, an increasing number of diseases are understood at the cellular and molecular level. Thus, an understanding of biological molecules and their interactions underlies modern medicine and the treatment of diseases. The goal of this course is to present fundamentals of biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology and human genetics from an integrated multi-disciplinary perspective. Further, these molecular principles are correlated with clinical issues throughout the course so that the importance of cell biology in the illumination of the causes of, as well as the strategies for the treatment of many diseases, is clearly revealed.

This comprehensive course presents a concise view of many topics including the basic structure and function of mammalian cells, structure and function of proteins and enzymes, cellular energetics and metabolism, biochemical nutrition, cellular receptors and intracellular signaling. Fundamental principals of modern molecular biology are presented, including DNA structure and function, protein synthesis and the regulation of gene expression. The principles of modern molecular biology are integrated with clinical human genetics so that fundamentals of cytogenetics and population genetics are examined.

The goals of this course are accomplished through a series of focused lectures complemented by clinical correlation sessions presented by the clinical faculty. In addition, this course includes a major commitment to teaching fundamentals through multiple small group sessions where students learn through problem solving, clinical case studies and through discussion and presentation of the medical literature. 

Block IV - Functional Systems (10 weeks)

An introduction to the study of cellular function. The course begins with the study of general membrane and cellular physiological principles, including diffusion and membrane permeability, osmotic pressure and cell volume changes, electrochemical equilibrium including the Nernst equation and Donnan equilibrium, the origin of resting membrane potentials, active and passive transport processes and epithelial transport. Study then focuses on action potential generation and propagation in excitable tissue like neurons and muscle cells, the structural and functional properties of skeletal muscle including its mechanical properties and excitation-contraction coupling and the pathophysiology of nerve and muscle.

This block covers the functional aspects of the major organ systems. It provides students with a basic understanding of mammalian and, in particular, human physiology, and lays the foundation for the study of clinical medicine. The subject matter is organized into sections that cover cellular, cardiovascular, renal, respiratory, gastrointestinal, endocrine and integrative physiology. Each section ties together aspects of structure with function and includes discussion of relevant pathophysiological and clinical applications. Conference periods are used for clinical correlations, small group discussions, laboratory exercises and computer-assisted simulations. The curriculum includes problem-solving and problem-based, self-learning sessions. 

Block V - Neurosciences (6 weeks)

The Neurosciences course provides a unified approach to the study of the central nervous system, i.e., fundamental concepts of neuroanatomy, neurochemistry, neurophysiology and clinical neurology are considered in an integrated sequence. The course begins with structural, biochemical and developmental aspects of the brain and spinal cord. Studies of the major sensory and motor systems and consideration of higher neural functions subsequently form the core of the course. Clinical presentations highlight the importance of major neurobiological principles in the hospital and office setting. Methods used include lecture, laboratory and small group discussions, along with self-teaching and self-evaluation units. The course faculty includes members of the departments of anatomy and neurobiology, biochemistry and molecular biology, physiology and neurology. 

 

Last Revision: January 29, 2013