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MD Program Foundations and Frontiers Course Descriptions

PHASE 1

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FOUNDATIONS 1

Molecules to Organs (MO)
Molecules to Organs takes an integrated approach to fundamental concepts of genetics, embryology, biochemistry, molecular and cell biology and nutrition. This course includes the study of epithelial and connective tissue microanatomy and begins the study of organ systems. It also covers the principles of medical research, including basic statistics and library searches.

Structure and Function-1 (SF-1)
This course provides an integrated approach to anatomy, microanatomy, physiology, embryology and neuroscience. In the first half of the course, the focus is on the neuro-musculoskeletal system and integument. In the second half, the focus is on the head and neck, including the brain and the endocrine system.

Structure and Function-2 (SF-2)
Structure and Function-2 continues the study of anatomy, microanatomy, physiology and embryology. It also includes cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, gastrointestinal and reproductive systems.

Foundations of Disease (FD)
Foundations of Disease is a multidisciplinary course that explores the origins of disease at the cellular and molecular level. It includes an in-depth study of the immunologic mechanisms contributing to host defenses and inflammation. The course also includes an introduction to the different types of microbial pathogens, the principles of pharmacologic therapy and therapeutic anti-microbial agents.

Foundations of Patient Care-1 (PC-1)
In this course, students will acquire the foundational clinical knowledge, attitudes and skills to care for patients within a biopsychosocial model of health and illness. Course activities will enable students to grow personally and professionally, developing greater capacity for self-awareness, therapeutic relationships, reflective practice and moral agency.

Case Based Learning-1 (CBL-1)
This course provides a case-based framework for students to integrate basic, clinical social science knowledge with an emphasis on the patient as a person to promote the development of clinical reasoning skills, knowledge self- assessment skills and the development of life-long learning and teamwork skills.

Health Advocacy Practicum (HAP)
The Health Advocacy Practicum (HAP) is an inter-professional, community-based learning course with multiple dimensions: (i) experiential learning in the community through patient partnerships in non-clinical settings; (ii) investigation of social determinants of health and consequences of health disparities; (iii) knowledge and skills for effective collaboration within inter-professional teams; (iv) support of professional formation through reflection and group inquiry.

Frontiers-1a, b, c
This course (three, 1-week intervals) introduces cutting-edge content in health care informatics, medical research, public health, patient safety and health care systems.

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FOUNDATIONS 2

Human Disease Systems (HDS-1)
In this eight month course, Human Disease Systems-1 takes an systems approach that integrates microbiology, pathology, pharmacology and pathophysiology content with an emphasis on the clinical approach to the basic science.

Foundations of Patient Care-2 (PC-2)
In this course, students will acquire the foundational clinical knowledge, attitudes and skills to care for patients within a biopsychosocial model of health and illness. Course activities will enable students to grow personally and professionally, developing greater capacity for self-awareness, therapeutic relationships, reflective practice and moral agency.

Case-Based Learning-2 (CBL-2)
This course provides a case-based framework for students to integrate basic, clinical social science knowledge with an emphasis on the patient as a person to promote the development of clinical reasoning skills, knowledge self- assessment skills and the development of life-long learning and teamwork skills.

Health Advocacy 2 (HA2)
The Health Advocacy Practicum (HAP) is an inter-professional, community-based learning course with multiple dimensions: (i) experiential learning in the community through patient partnerships in non-clinical settings; (ii) investigation of social determinants of health, and consequences of health disparities;(iii) knowledge and skills for effective collaboration within inter-professional teams; (iv) support of professional formation through reflection and group inquiry.

Frontiers-2
This one-week course introduces cutting-edge content in health care informatics, medical research, public health, patient safety and health care systems.

Interprofessional Collaboration in Chronic Care (ICCC)
Interprofessional Collaboration in Chronic Care will serve as an introduction for students to being an active and integrated member of a health care team as one manages patients with chronic medical conditions. Students will learn to identify professional roles, skills and approaches to patient care of one’s own and other disciplines, and collaborate effectively with interprofessional team members to discuss therapeutic approaches that reflect the ethics of care, emphasize patient safety and improve health outcomes, as well as recognize the complexity of chronic disease management, and the burden chronic disease places on our health care system and society.

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Applications

Intersession I
Intersession I is a two-week required course that assists the learner’s transition from the classroom into the clinical setting. Week 1 is completed online and requires the student to work through modules that address the role of students on the patient care team, oral presentation of patients on rounds, writing an admission history and physical versus writing a daily progress note, and working collaboratively on teams.

An interactive module dealing with evidence-based medicine reinforces what the student has learned in years 1 and 2. During week 2, there are basic skills simulations for all students, including basic suturing, basic life support, delivering a baby, and starting IVs and drawing blood. The didactic components include reinforcing HIPAA, dealing with uncertainty, writing orders, malpractice concerns, and the nuts-and-bolts rules of the road for clerkships. The students are also introduced to cyber-professionalism, SBAR patient safety and Act 13, and proper hospital hygiene.

Ambulatory Medicine Clerkship
The ambulatory medicine clerkship is a five-week educational experience during which students are expected to gain the basic knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to care for adult patients with medical disorders in an outpatient setting. The clerkship will also concentrate on the topics of high-value care, opiate use disorder and the musculoskeletal exam.

Family Medicine Clerkship
The family medicine clerkship is a required five-week rotation. Students work in various clinical settings, as they learn about common problems encountered by family physicians, develop an understanding of the role of family physicians in patient care, and learn to implement a biopsychosocial model in caring for patients. Students will encounter issues in acute care, management of chronic illnesses, and health maintenance over the entire lifespan.

Neurology Clerkship
During this five-week clerkship, students will be introduced to the practice of clinical neurology. The clerkship consists of four weeks of clinical exposure and one week of independent study culminating in a presentation on translational medicine in neurology. In your clinical weeks, you will learn the general principles of localization of neurological pathology, the general approach to the most commonly encountered neurological symptoms and conditions, and the skills of performing and understanding the neurological examination.

Pediatrics Clerkship
During the five-week pediatrics clerkship, students learn to differentiate normal from abnormal growth and development in children, develop clinical skills necessary for the diagnosis and management of childhood illness, and build communication skills necessary for successful clinical interactions with young patients and their families. Students help care for children of all ages, from newborns through adolescents, while working closely with attending physicians, residents, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers and other members of the pediatric health care team.

Psychiatry Clerkship
The psychiatry clerkship introduces students over a five-week rotation to the current practice of psychiatry and guides them in developing the ability to identify, evaluate and manage the emotional and psychiatric problems that they will encounter in various types of medical practice. The clerkship provides them with the opportunity for interaction with other treatment providers and families of the patients to help them acquire the skills necessary for adopting a team approach in the management of patients with such disorders.

OB/GYN Clerkship
The obstetrics and gynecology clerkship is five weeks in duration and provides the opportunity to experience general OB/GYN as well as to introduce students to the diverse subspecialties available through obstetrics and gynecology. The curriculum is clinically based with interactive didactics to reinforce the key topics in obstetrics and gynecology.

Inpatient Medicine Clerkship
The inpatient medicine clerkship runs over 10 weeks and is the educational experience during which students are expected to gain the basic knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to care for adult patients with medical disorders. The core topics in the curriculum are those recognized by Clerkship Directors in Inpatient Medicine. The clerkship will focus on those basic competencies of general internal medicine we believe should be mastered by third-year medical students. This clerkship allows students to participate on a general medicine inpatient service as well as have opportunities to work with sub-specialties.

Surgery Clerkship
The surgery clerkship is 10 weeks. The clerkship provides a clinical correlation and practical application of the basic science concepts learned in the first and second years of medical school. The goals for the student are to identify and learn the core principles of surgery and to develop a broad-based knowledge of surgery that is applicable to many areas of medicine. The objectives are modeled after the ACGME core competencies (patient care, medical knowledge, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, practice-based learning and improvement, and systems-based practice). The students are exposed to various aspects of general surgery during the clerkship. Elective time scheduled as a part of the 10-week experience allows the students to acquire exposure to a surgical subspecialties.

Students are evaluated by the faculty on the basis of their performance clinically, as well as their performance on the NBME Subject Exam for each clerkship. Some of the clerkships have additional presentations, projects, and oral exams that are factored into the final grade.

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Transitions

Pathways
The fourth-year curriculum is structured in the form of Pathways — experiences that give students a well- rounded education while allowing them to focus on potential careers. Students all choose a discipline-specific Pathway. All students have a discipline-specific adviser in addition to a Student Affairs adviser who works closely with them throughout the fourth year. Each Pathway allows the student to balance the structure and flexibility of their learning needs, prepares the student to enter postgraduate training with confidence, and maximizes the guidance and counseling available from preceptors.

Pathways help students focus their preparation for graduate medical education and careers. They also give students experience in fields of interest other than the one that is likely to be their career path as they continue their medical education. The Pathway system is structured so that students take both required courses and electives. Three course rotations are required: an emergency medicine sub-internship, a sub-internship in either surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics or obstetrics/gynecology, and Intersession II — Transition to Clinician. Fourth-year students have opportunities to do up to 16 weeks of elective rotations at hospitals and sites that are not Drexel clinical affiliates including international rotations.

Students benefit from the counseling and advice of their specific departmental Pathway adviser in course selection. The adviser is also critical in each student’s planning, leading up to the residency match.

Available pathways:

  • Anesthesiology
  • Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • Dermatology
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Family Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Obstetrics/Gynecology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Orthopedic Surgery
  • Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
  • Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Psychiatry
  • Radiation Oncology
  • Radiology
  • Surgery
  • Urology

Emergency Medicine Sub-internship
During the required emergency medicine sub-internship, students will evaluate undifferentiated patients in the Emergency Department. This gives students the opportunity to hone their history and physical examination, clinical reasoning, and diagnostic and therapeutic acumen while being closely supervised by attendings and residents. Students will see patients with a wide range of complaints from the urgent to the emergent.

Sub-internship
The required fourth-year sub-internship can be taken in either inpatient medicine, pediatrics, surgery, or obstetrics/gynecology. The sub-internships are designed to better prepare future graduates for life as an intern. As a Sub-I, students should carry more patients than as a third-year student, and more importantly, should function more like an intern — writing notes, devising a comprehensive plan, writing the orders, assisting and/or performing procedures, calling consultants, and helping with discharge planning. All of these activities are overseen by a supervising resident and attending.

Intersession II – Transition to Clinician
Intersession II is a two-week required course that assists the learner’s transition between medical school and internship. The first week is completed online and requires the student to work through modules that address palliative/end-of-life care, complementary and alternative medicine, advanced communication skills such as delivering bad news, and the final section of the Business of Medicine course. Week 2, which is done on site, is focused toward both didactic and skills learning. Students build upon what they have learned during week 1 and practice these skills in workshops. They meet with a standardized patient and practice their communication skills, both in the delivery of bad news and in obtaining a DNR status from a family member. Other interactive workshops include Megacode, Intubation and Oxygen Delivery, Advanced Suturing, Pediatric and OB/GYN simulations and more. These are self-selected by the students based upon the residency they matched into. Other areas of didactic learning include routine assignments that may be expected of an intern such as pronouncing a patient dead. This lesson explains this duty in steps, including the actual way a person is pronounced, the paperwork, autopsy information, and concludes with the personal reaction that death may evoke in each of the learners.

The Foundations and Frontiers curriculum information presented is subject to revision. Last updated July 30, 2020.

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Contact Information

Drexel University College of Medicine
Office of Admissions
2900 W. Queen Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19129
   215.991.8202  |     215.843.1766 (Fax)

 
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