The first year consists of integrated units and longitudinal experiences:
- Scientific Foundations of Medicine I: This 11-week unit integrates six components: Immunology, Biochemistry, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Tissue and Organ Biology. During the first three weeks students will learn (and meet patients with) six diseases: diabetes mellitus, coronary artery disease, HIV/AIDS, breast cancer, cystic fibrosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. These patients will form part of the framework for learning basic science and understanding the clinical relevance of those foundational concepts. This unit is integrated with concurrent courses in the Foundations of Evidence-Based Medicine and Clinical Reasoning experience.
- Scientific Foundations of Medicine II: This 11-week unit integrates four components: Clinical Anatomy, Core Pathology, Core Physiology, and Core Pharmacology. This unit is integrated with concurrent units including Foundations of Patient Care.
- The Brain: This eight-week unit integrates four components: Neuroscience, Introduction to Clinical Psychiatry, Addiction Medicine, and Head and Neck Anatomy. This unit will build on the previous units and is integrated with concurrent courses in the Foundations of Patient Care and Foundations of Evidence-Based Medicine and Clinical Reasoning experiences.
- Scientific Foundations of Social and Behavioral Medicine: This five-week unit integrates Population Medicine, Healthcare Policy, Public Health, Healthcare Economics, Quality and Patient Safety, and Growth and Development. This unit is integrated with Foundations of Evidence-Based Medicine and Clinical Reasoning.
- The longitudinal Foundations of Patient Care Unit comprises three components and extends throughout the first two years: Medical Interviewing and the Doctor-Patient Relationship (MIDPR), Physical Diagnosis, and the Competency-Based Apprenticeship in Primary care (CAP I, first year; and CAP II, second year). CAP helps students develop tangible skills related to caring for patients and integrating information more effectively in a clinical setting. The course curriculum reinforces skills taught in Medical Interviewing and the Doctor‐Patient Relationship, and Physical Diagnosis. Over the course of this year-long experience (beginning last block of first year and continuing through March of second year) students, working in pairs, spend one full-day per week in a primary care office (family medicine, general internal medicine, pediatrics). Students work through a core set of competencies that focus on fundamental clinical skills, knowledge and attitudes (taking a focused history, conducting all elements of the problem based physical exam, taking a social history, counseling a patient on smoking cessation, etc.). In addition, students participate in a series of ten workshops throughout the course, where they learn specific office‐based skills (administering vaccinations, performing medication reconciliation, working with the electronic medical record, offering nutrition/exercise counseling, accessing the evidence-based medical literature in the clinical setting, etc.). This active learning approach allows students to contribute to the effective office‐based care of patients while receiving superb education from primary care faculty.
- The course in Ethics and Professionalism stretches across the first- and second-year and tackles challenging topics including end of life care, patient’s rights and conflict of interest.
- Foundations of Evidence-Based Medicine and Clinical Reasoning stretches across the first two years. The unit consists of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Problem-Based Learning (PBL), Introduction to Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) and the second-year Introduction to Clinical Reasoning. A strong emphasis on the use of problem-based learning, a teaching method based on case studies, is a highlight of the curriculum. The cases chosen are closely coordinated with the material from the on-going segments of the curriculum and provide opportunities for student learning in a wide range of areas. Students are not only responsible for their own education in PBL but are also expected to actively support the education of their fellow students as part of this program. PBL emphasizes self-directed learning and fosters a spirit of inquiry, essential for lifelong learning.
- Selectives are one half-day per week sessions (Tuesday afternoons, August through April) that allow students to explore a diverse range of clinical experiences or topics in medical humanities, the business of medicine, issues in public health, and many others.