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Year 1/2 Electives

There are no electives required during years 1 and 2. However, students have the opportunity to take several courses approved for senior elective credit. Please note that these courses cannot be taken during years 3 and 4 for 4th year elective credit.

Students may take as many electives in years 1 and 2, in any combination, as they wish. However, a maximum of only 3 months of 4th year elective credit will be awarded as a result of year 1/2 electives. A minimum of one, 4-week clinical elective will be required of all students in their 4th year regardless of the amount of elective credit accrued in years 1 and 2.

Students participating in preclinical electives including CAPP, Medical Spanish, Primary Care Track, Personal Genomes, Humanism Symposium and approved Law School Courses must earn a minimum grade of "C" in all medical school coursework in order to register for or continue with the elective. Students not meeting this standard will not be permitted to register or be withdrawn from the course or program upon confirmation of a "D" or "F" in a course. No partial credit will be awarded to students required to withdraw.

Critical Issues in Health Care (PREV 645)

Course Director

Diane Hoffmann, JD

Medical Spanish (SPAN 547)

Sandra Quezada

Recognizing the demand for bilingual health care professionals, the School of Medicine offers Medical Spanish as an elective course for credit to first year medical students. The 10-week course is offered each semester for students with at least an intermediate level of Spanish speaking proficiency and is designed to elevate their skill level from lay conversation to the ability to conduct a full medical interview. Through classroom didactics the course focuses on medical vocabulary acquisition, comprehension, and insight into cultural nuances that impact the physician-patient interaction with the goal of helping them to become physician who are able to communicate clearly with Spanish-speaking patients who are not fluent in English. To receive credit, students must complete 40 weeks of Medical Spanish and 80 hours of practical experience where they apply their skills at Spanish-speaking clinics in the area.

The Medical Spanish curriculum is designed to be systems-based and parallels the students’ block schedule as much as possible. During the first year, students learn terminology and practice their ability to conduct a medical interview focusing on obtaining the chief complaint, history of present illness, review of systems, social and family history that may be pertinent to anything from cardiovascular disease, obstetrics and gynecology to gastrointestinal pathology. Second year medical students have the opportunity to strengthen these skills as well as learn to conduct a physical examination using appropriate direction in Spanish, as well as deliver recommendations and treatment plans in Spanish.

Medical Spanish was developed by Hugo Gonzalez-Serratos, MD, PhD, then Professor of Physiology. “One of my goals was to teach medical students culturally competent practical skills for them to be able to interview our growing number of Spanish speaking patients and their families," said Dr. Gonzalez, who led the team of bilingual course instructors until his recent passing. The course is now taught by Sandra Quezada, M.D., M.S., a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and current clinical instructor in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

By the end of the course students should be able to initiate and maintain conversations in Spanish, interview Spanish-speaking patients in their own language , and know and understand the cultural differences that affect the way physicians and patients communicate. Medical Spanish students are preferentially assigned to clinics and practices with Spanish-speaking patients for their fourth- year area health education center (AHEC) rotation.

"In addition to the obvious benefits to Latino patients and their families, medical students with bilingual ability are attractive to prospective employers," says Donna L. Parker, MD, associate dean for Student Affairs. "In states such as California, Texas and Florida, the ability to speak Spanish is almost a job requirement.” With a 101% increase in the number of Hispanic Marylanders from 2000 to 2010 according to U.S. Census, this skill will undoubtedly become increasingly more relevant and vital to health care providers in the Maryland area.

For more information about Medical Spanish,  please contact: Sandra Quezada, MD, Clinical Instructor

Course Director

Sandra Quezada, MD

Homeland Security-Bioterrorism (CIPP 905)

Course Director

Michael Greenberg, JD

A maximum of two months senior elective credit will be awarded for any combination of the 3 elective courses listed above.  

Combined Accelerated Program in Psychiatry (PSYH 548)

The Combined Accelerated Program in Psychiatry (CAPP) was initiated in 1970 by the Department of Psychiatry as a major effort to explore new approaches to medical education. This behavioral science-psychiatry track allows selected students to enroll in basic psychiatric specialty training, beginning in and concurrent with the Freshman year and continuing through the four years of medical school. In addition to participating in the psychiatry program, students are required to fulfill all of the requirements of a standard four-year medical curriculum. In admitting students to the program, there is no requirement for any pledge of a career interest in psychiatry.

Students are selected from among applicants with an interest in the social and behavioral aspects of medicine. Twelve students are admitted to the program per year. The track provides, from the first month of the Freshman year, an unfolding progression of combined didactic and clinical experiences in the behavioral sciences and in clinical psychiatry. Most teaching occurs in the 12-member group, seminar-style, and is conducted by senior faculty members. Completion of this four-year program provides two months of Senior-year elective credit and enables the student to graduate from medical school with a foundation of knowledge and skills that is envisioned to be at least equivalent to that provided by one year of traditional residency training in psychiatry. Only about 1/3 of the CAPP students go into Psychiatry.

Course Director

Ann Hackman, MD   

A maximum of two months senior elective credit will be awarded to students participating in CAPP.


Description and Goals:

The Primary Care Track (PCT) will allow students who show an early interest in primary care to better determine their ultimate career path. This longitudinal tract allows for mentorship by family medicine physicians, general internists and general pediatricians while providing the interested student with an opportunity to learn via ongoing relationships with patients.

One month senior elective credit upon successful completion of PCT  

Course Directors

Richard Colgan, M.D.
(410) 328-3525

Linda Lewin, M.D.
(410) 328-6662

Nikkita Southall, M.D.
(410) 328-2388

Role of Personal Genomes in Medicine –  MEDC 540


Successful completion of Year 1 curriculum


School of Medicine

Description and Goals:

This course will expose trainees to the use of personal genetic and genomic information in clinical medicine.  It will cover principles of advanced medical genetics and genomics, complex disorders, laboratory design and execution, as well as ethical, legal, and social issues associated with decision-making, consent, and individualized genomic testing. The laboratory component will afford hands-on experience to allow an appreciation of genomic testing and bioinformatics.  This will include exposure to DNA extraction and quantitation, microarray technology using a drug metabolism panel (on their own or an anonymous sample of DNA);   and an opportunity to see ‘next-generation’ DNA sequencing using a panel for cancer and/or other common adult conditions.  The data will be used to discuss how identification of specific mutations can impact the choice of treatment for cancer patients, but also challenge students to investigate how information about an individual’s genome will profoundly change how a physician may manage health and disease in the near future.
Number of Students: 5-20 (rising MSII students but MSIV may also be interested, but appropriate for both.)
Time of Year Available:  Summer (June/July)
Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (with assignments, lab experience, etc.)

Faculty Responsible:

Miriam G. Blitzer, PhD
Professor and Head, Division of Human Genetics, Pediatrics
(410) 706-4065 

Administrative Contact:

Rhea Cosentino
Program Manager, Program in Personalized and Genomic Medicine

Humanism Symposium (MSPR 500)

The Humanism Symposium is an elective course that will offer medical students and SOM faculty the opportunity to examine the full range of what it means to be a humanistic physician. The course will be co-led by two faculty members, with assistance from a small group of dedicated Junior and Senior students. The Symposium will meet for 2.5 hours once per week for a total of 16 sessions spanning from November to April. It will address topics across specialties, from medical ethics, to cultural differences and spirituality, to physician self-care. Over the six months, students will co-lead article discussions, share reflections on pieces of art, music and/or writing, participate in rousing discussions and complete a culminating creative project. We hope that this course will allow students to explore the joys and challenges of medicine, and also strengthen their sense of empathy and duty as they face the rigors of medical school. For the faculty who lead classes or participate in sessions, we hope it will serve as a reminder of the compassion that the practice of medicine demands.

Course Director

Dr. Kerri Thom, course director

Co-Course Directors

Dr. Nirav Shah, co-course director
Emily Schehlein, Class of 2017, student leader
Jamie Nichols, Class of 2017, student leader

Critical Issues in Global Health - NRSG 664


This course is open to all graduate students who have a strong interest in global health.


SON 460

Description and Goals:

Using a series of seminars, lectures and reading assignments, this course is designed to give advanced students an overview of the global health problems facing the world today and equip them with a deeper understanding of the social and organizational determinants of health and the essential tools to navigate the world of international health. The course focuses on teaching students about the global burden of disease and pattern of disease variations between and within countries. It addresses cross-cutting issues such as poverty, environmental degradation, and the impact of globalization on health. Topics covered include the social determinants of global health, health system challenges in global health, maternal and child health, gender and violence, nutrition, and global climate change. The course will review pandemics such as HIV, TB, and malaria, as well as non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and mental health. The course will also introduce the student to the key players in global health and critical issues in global health governance that impact implementation of global health programs. Guest speakers will be invited from a number of the UMB professional schools (i.e. Law, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Nursing, Medicine, Social Work, and Graduate School) as well as external global health experts. Evaluations will be based on student participation, a series of short papers, and presentations.


Global health issues are complex and require an understanding of social, political and economic issues in order to understand the burden of disease. No one course could cover all these disciplines in the depth they each deserve, however, the objective of this course is to provide students with an essential understanding of global health issues and the role of global health organizations in order to prepare students for a career in global health.

Upon completion of the course students will be able to:

  1. Identify the major infectious and chronic diseases that contribute to the global burden of disease and their unequal global distribution
  2. Understand demographic and epidemiologic transitions and the role of population growth in global health
  3. Become familiar with critical health outcome indicators (e.g., IMR and DALYS) and economic indicators (e.g., GNP, GDP) and when they should be used
  4. Understand the impact of globalization on health and the role of cross-cutting issues such as poverty, urbanization, and environmental degradation in global health
  5. Understand the role of key global health organizations and differentiate among the roles of multinationals, governments, non-governmental organizations and private voluntary organizations (PVOs)
  6. Understand the concept of vertical versus horizontal programs
  7. Evaluate country-specific strategies to deal with global health issues

Additional Information:

Evaluation Methods:
Individual class participation - 15%
Short, individual papers- (3 @ 15% each) 45%
Individual presentation- 10%
Participation in leading discussion - 5%
Participation in group project - 10%
Individual portion of group presentation - 15%

Number of Students:


Time of Year Available



Wednesdays, 2-5 pm

Faculty Responsible

Jeffrey V. Johnson
Professor of Family and Community Health, School of Nursing
Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, School of Medicine
Director, Office of Global Health (SNB 480)

Administrative Contact:

Anne Brenner

Social Justice Track - SJT 547




UMSOM and other sites around Baltimore

Description and Goals:

Social justice curriculums have been developed in medical schools across the country. Students and faculty are playing active roles in developing educational experiences to address this issue. Recently there has been much attention to disparities in cities across the country including Baltimore City. Economic, judicial, housing, violence and educational disparities are just a few of the social problems in the community that our UMB campus serves. These issues have been highlighted in the media nationwide and have triggered much needed discussions.

Training for physicians should not only encompass traditional medical education but also incorporate social determinants of health. Multiple studies have shown that social determinants of health impact patient outcomes. A large proportion of patients treated at UMMC and affiliated hospitals are underserved and live in communities that have historically been affected by social and health disparities. Preparing medical students with knowledge about how socio-economic factors may affect medical care and health, and what they can do to address these social determinants of health is crucial. Physicians have an obligation to address these factors for better patient and community outcomes in the struggle to decrease health disparities.

There is no denying that the socioeconomic status of an individual has a profound effect on his or her health. In the social justice curriculum that we propose, we would like to incorporate an understanding of what social justice means in different populations, evaluate the social factors that increase disparities, and discuss ways we can effectively address these issues. Physicians have historically been leaders in the community. We are a profession that is highly skilled and valued. Communities look to physicians to guide in both medical and social issues that affect our world. Providing a social justice curriculum is important to fulfill a need in the UMB community for the training of future physicians and leaders.

One month senior elective credit upon succession completion of SJT

Number of Students:


Faculty Responsible

Darlene Robinson, MD
Wendy Lane, MD, MPH
Associate Director  

Additional Information

The Social Justice Track is a four-year curriculum for entering first year medical students beginning in their spring semester. This track will incorporate guest lecturers, class assigned readings, discussion blogs, projects, and service learning.