There are five instructional blocks in the first year, focusing primarily on an integrated approach to human biological systems. Also in year 1, students will begin their three-year Longitudinal Ambulatory Care Experience where they participate in the care of patients under the supervision of a physician-mentor.
Block 1: Foundations of Medicine I
Surveys principles of genetics, and molecular, cellular and developmental biology in relation to human disease processes. Coverage includes basics of cell cycle regulation, gene expression, protein processing, signal transduction, ion transport and action potentials, genetics, embryology, cancer biology, immunology and pharmacology. Laboratory sessions provide an overview of cell structure and tissue organization along with thematically relevant concepts of histopathology.
Block 2: Cardiovascular, Renal, & Respiratory Medicine I
Surveys the organization and integrative operation of the cardiovascular, renal, respiratory and autonomic nervous systems and their responses to stress and disease. Selected laboratory exercises demonstrate key principles of electrocardiography, blood pressure regulation, renal function, body fluid composition and volumes, and pulmonary function. Laboratories emphasize methods for measuring cardiac, pulmonary and renal function.
Block 3: Gastrointestinal, Endocrine, & Reproductive Health I
Surveys gastrointestinal physiology, medical biochemistry and molecular endocrinology (with an emphasis on metabolic disorders and human nutrition). Coverage includes anemia, clotting disorders, hepatitis, alcoholic cirrhosis, diabetes, celiac diseases, osteoporosis, diseases of steroid metabolism, reproductive disorders, thyroid disorders, pituitary disorders, and pharmacokinetics. Gross anatomy lectures and laboratories cover upper and lower GI tract, abdominal cavity and wall, the pelvis and perineum.
Block 4: Musculoskeletal Medicine
Covers the structures and functions of the peripheral nervous and musculoskeletal systems with a strong clinical emphasis. Students learn how the brain and spinal cord receive sensory input, and control skeletal muscle, and are introduced to neurology. Gross anatomy lectures and laboratories focus on the upper and lower extremities.
Block 5: Clinical Neurosciences I
Covers the structures and functions of the central nervous system including the visual and auditory systems. Gross anatomy lectures and laboratories focus on the head and neck. Students are also introduced to the neurochemical basis of psychiatric disorders and psychiatry as well as neurogenetics.
Clinical Medicine: Year-Long Introduction
Students will be introduced to core clinical skills early in the first year of the curriculum through a variety of courses including doctoring, clinical skills, problem-based learning and preceptorship. Beginning in the first block students will explore connections between basic science knowledge and clinical medicine in a small-group learning environment, problem-based learning. Clinical skills and doctoring will introduce students to fundamental skills in communication and physical diagnosis. Each student will be assigned to a community-based preceptor with whom they will work throughout the first year to refine their patient care skills with real patients in an office-based setting.
The curriculum follows along with the organ systems covered in lecture. Students are introduced on how to obtain and interpret various images, possible pathologies, and how to integrate ultrasound into a physical exam.