Pre-Clinical Years

Clinical experience is introduced early in the first year through the Patient Centered Medicine course. Measurable course objectives and benchmarks have been developed for students in Pre-Clerkship and Clerkship/Advanced phases of the curriculum. Clinical training is enhanced through the use of standardized patients, Objective Structured Clinical Exercises (OSCE), and individual observation and feedback by the more than 2,400 full time and volunteer faculty. All educational experiences undergo rigorous evaluation by students and faculty throughout the four years.

Academic Calendar

→ Pre-Clinical, Non-Credit Electives


Foundations of Medicine

Biomedical Sciences

The goal of Biomedical Sciences course is to provide our students with an understanding of the scientific basis of medicine and to integrate biochemistry, genetics, epidemiology, and cellular and molecular biology both to normal structure and function of the human body and to disease states that result when these become abnormal. In this course, we aim to help students develop the necessary skills to be interdisciplinary thinkers and life-long learners who understand and interpret molecular, biochemical and clinical information leading to improved evidence-based medicine.

Structure and Function

In Structure and Function, students will explore the musculoskeletal and peripheral nervous systems from the cellular to gross anatomic level through a series of large and small group exercises and laboratory experiences including cadaver dissection. Students will begin to use anatomical terminology and the language of medicine in communication with their peers and faculty. Common clinical cases will serve as the basis for discussion of peripheral nervous tissue, muscle and bone from the basic science of these structures to the patient presenting with related pain and/or dysfunction.

Maintaining Homeostasis

Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Systems

The goal of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Systems course is to provide students with the knowledge of the normal structure and function of both the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems that will be crucial to a future understanding of the diseases that affect the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems. Systems will be studied using the integration across multiple disciplines (e.g., anatomy, histology, and physiology) in order to provide a scientific underpinning for systems function. Woven through these topics will be practical introduction to key elements of the physical examination of the heart and lung, basic electrocardiogram interpretation, and measurement of normal pulmonary function.

Renal, Endocrine, and Reproductive Systems

TThis course will cover the basic medical science and clinical aspects of the renal, genitourinary, endocrine and reproductive systems. Course content will be disseminated via a multidisciplinary approach, using the integration of lecture, laboratory, and small group settings. Clinical experiences and multidisciplinary case discussions will provide an opportunity for the students to fully appreciate and apply the integrated function of the renal, endocrine, and reproductive systems to the context of clinical practice.

Digestive Systems, Nutrition and Metabolism

The goal of the Gastrointestinal, Metabolism and Nutrition course is to build, using an integrative approach, a foundation of understanding of the structure-function relationships which control GI function. This information will be integrated with the study of the metabolism of key nutrients and why these homeostatic mechanisms when perturbed lead to disease states affecting the GI and other systems such as intestinal malrotation, gastroesophageal reflux, cholelithiasis, glycogen storage disease, malabsorption disorders, alcoholic liver diseases, celiac disease, nutritional deprivation and other selected ailments. As in all the courses, students are guided to develop with the necessary skills to be interdisciplinary thinkers and life-long learners who understand and interpret molecular, biochemical and clinical information leading to improved evidence-based medicine.

Mechanisms of Disease & Defense


This course provides a foundation for the understanding of the general pathology of diseases and the normal workings of the immune system. Students will study the mechanisms of the pathology of disease states at the molecular, cellular, tissue, organ, and organismal levels. This will include cell injury, inflammation and tissue repair. Students will become familiar with the normal workings of the immune system, including the molecules, cells and organs responsible for its functioning in the defense of the human body. In addition, the course will cover the most common drugs which affect the functioning of the immune system.


This course provides an introduction to the biology of common human bacterial, viral, fungal and protozoan pathogens which cause human disease. Students will analyze the interactions of the pathogens with our immune system. In addition, students will be able to apply the principles of the biology of these pathogens to predict their response to major therapeutic agents and explain emergence of drug resistance. This course will demonstrate how knowledge of microbiology will help in diagnosing and treating infectious diseases.


Patient Centered Medicine I

Patient Centered Medicine I is an experiential and skill development block which enables students to explore issues of humanism and professionalism, cultural and ethical sensitivity and the influence of one's own socio-cultural and personal beliefs on the practice of medicine, as well as the importance of balance in one's personal and professional lives. Through teaching scenarios with standardized patients and clinic visits, students practice communication skills for establishing rapport and a therapeutic alliance with patients, for eliciting a medical history and understanding the biopsychosocial and environmental context.



Diseases and Therapeutics 1

Foundations of Diagnostic and Therapeutics

This course focuses on fundamental skills needed by physicians to make diagnostic and therapeutic decisions for patients presenting with problems in any organ system. Major topics are introductory pharmacology, laboratory medicine, and clinical decision-making. Skills will be applied in two problem-solving sessions at the end of each week.

Neuron, Brain and Behavior

This block is composed of two courses (NBB1 and NBB2). The overall objectives of the block are to familiarize medical students with the principles of normal and abnormal function of the central nervous system. The major classes of neurological and psychiatric diseases and disorders are covered. The emphasis is on understanding the major clinical features from a mechanistic point of view. Pathological findings are covered together with major drug classes used to treat many disorders.

Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Disease

The objective of the courses on Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Diseases is to provide a solid foundation of knowledge regarding common diseases of the heart, vasculature and lungs. GPS for Clinical Medicine will open each section, followed by introduction to common presenting symptoms and physical findings characteristic of diseases that affect the respective organ systems Topic discussions will include background, pathophysiology, frequency and factors that influence morbidity and mortality. Key presenting features for each disease will be emphasized. Drugs that are commonly used to treat disorders of the heart and lungs will be discussed in terms their metabolism, mechanisms of action, organ system effects, and major toxicities.

Hematology / Oncology: Bench to Bedside

The objectives of the course on Hematologic and Oncologic Diseases are two-fold. First, the course will discuss the basic biology and clinical behavior of malignancy. There will be lectures addressing the molecular basis for malignant transformation, including viral, environmental, and hereditary factors. This discussion will be correlated to the current pharmacologic and biologic approaches to cancer treatment. We will then discuss the clinical approach to the cancer patient.

Second, the course aims to provide a solid foundation of knowledge regarding diseases of (a) blood cells and (b) disorders of hemostasis.

Diseases and Therapeutics 2

Renal, GU, Endocrine & Reproduction

This course will cover aspects of renal, endocrine and reproductive health, disease, diagnostics and therapeutics. The section on renal medicine will discuss pathophysiology, pathology and clinical manifestations of commonly encountered parenchymal diseases of the kidney and urinary tract. Selective disorders of renal tubular function that disrupt systemic water, electrolyte, and acid-base homeostasis will also be examined.

This course will also cover endocrine disorders and disorders of male and female reproductive tracts, including several topics in GYN and GU oncology. The normal physiology of pregnancy, labor and delivery will also be introduced. Pathologic presentations will anchor each section.

There are also interdisciplinary sessions on sexual health, sexual behavior and reproductive diseases that will serve as a capstone to the course. There will be panel discussions, small and large group series that examine these issues more closely so that we can understand how they may impact patient care.

GI, Liver and Biliary Tract Diseases

A brief review of normal anatomy and physiology followed by a discussion of the cardinal manifestations of GI disease will form the foundation for the student. Specific attention will be devoted to the organ-based pathophysiology, pathology and disease states of the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine as well as the hepatobiliary system and pancreas. Interwoven into this matrix are the icons of common presentations in gastroenterology. The overarching learning objective for this course is to provide a broad overview of gastrointestinal pathology and build clinical acumen.

Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

The objectives of the course on Musculoskeletal, Joint and Skin Diseases are to cover two important areas of clinical medicine.

First, disorders of the musculoskeletal system and skin are prevalent throughout the world, affecting all ages and ethnic groups. This course will cover review the functional anatomy and physiology of the bones, joints, and skin. Common disorders of the bones, joints and skin, including infectious, structural and traumatic injuries, will be examined. The mechanisms of disease, diagnostics and therapeutics will be reviewed.

Second, we will discuss the principles of immunology as a segue into the discussion of rheumatologic disorders of the joints, skin and vasculature along with their investigation and various therapies. We will examine the myriad of clinical manifestations of some key systemic rheumatologic diseases.