Medical Master's Program Course Descriptions

Fall Semester

Cell Structure and Function - BM508 (5 Credits)

The successful completion of this course should provide the student with the scientific foundation for current approaches to modern molecular medicine. The study of cell and molecular biology as applied to medical applications continues to expand exponentially each year, and a fundamental knowledge of the principles of these topics will be increasingly needed by physicians applying individualized, molecular-based diagnoses and treatments. In the first-year curriculum, this course covers underlying concepts in cell biology, molecular biology and human genetics, and also prepares students for advanced topics covered in other first-year courses, such as biochemistry and physiology. These same concepts will continue to be components of the second-year curriculum, and their successful application will be necessary to further advance in medical school and to licensure.

The objectives of the course are to develop an understanding of the various metabolic pathways involved in the proper functioning of human cells and to begin to recognize how abnormalities/dysfunction of the components of these metabolic pathways can lead to disease. There are usually a small number (4-8) of specific objectives associated with and identified before each lecture.

Organ Systems Structure [Histology] - BM517 (6 Credits)

The overall goal of the course is to provide students with an understanding of how cells become specialized to form tissues, and how those tissues form organs. The course provides an essential foundation for understanding structure-function relationships in normal organs and how those relationships are affected by pathogenic mechanisms. The course is a critical prerequisite to Physiology, Pathology and Pathophysiology.

Clinical Anatomy Foundations – BM518 (3 Credits)

Clinical Anatomy Foundations is a team based course designed to prepare students for a multitude of health profession careers from medical illustration and simulation to medicine. It is a unique blend of systems-based and regional instruction with a focus on clinical relevance. The course will require an active learner approach that involves flipped classrooms, small groups, multimedia, plastinated material, models and prosected cadavers. Each week students are expected to complete online preparatory modules prior to an hour of interactive flipped classroom. There is also a two hour lab experience per week to actively reinforce the week's learning objectives. This lab will take the form of small group interactive foundation stations and clinically relevant stations which students will rotate through in teams.

Presentation and Professional Knowledge Skills – BM519 (3 Credits)

Presentation and Professional Knowledge Skills is a team based course covering non-academic aspects of the admissions process including practice interviews and history/vitals using standardized patients in small groups; application strategies; AMCAS application, personal statement; the role of health care team(various allied health professions) in delivering medical care; community medicine; coping skills (personality types, cultural issues, interview anxieties, effective study strategies, setting goals and failure);  ethics and health care economics.

Evidence Based Medicine – BM520 (3 Credits)

Evidence Based Medicine includes biostatistics, epidemiology, and concepts in evidence based medicine.  Students will identify/access literature, synthesize articles in short papers, and make presentations in small groups to develop evidence based medicine search skills on clinical topics.

Spring Semester

Integrated Metabolism and Nutrition [Medical Biochemistry]- BM502 (5 Credits)

Concepts and principles of human metabolism are systematically developed, beginning with fuel utilization by the body and enzyme function, covering catabolism and synthesis of carbohydrates, lipids, and nitrogen containing compounds, and concluding with integration of metabolic processes and the principles of nutritional biochemistry. Throughout the course, biochemical concepts are correlated with the metabolic basis of disease processes and the latest applications of biochemical principles to medicine.

At the completion of the course the student should possess knowledge of the concepts and principles of biochemistry commensurate with successful further advancement in medical school and licensure. The student should also exhibit an insight into the biochemical basis of medical problems, and an appreciation of the requirement of a sound understanding of biochemical principles for the prevention and successful treatment of diseases.

This knowledge, insight, and appreciation will allow the student to:

  1. Apply and integrate molecular and metabolic knowledge of conditions and disease states for clinical problem solving;
  2. Explain the biochemical basis of disease;
  3. Apply molecular and metabolic reasoning to evaluate clinical and translational research;
  4. Describe how the development of effective therapies is based upon an understanding of the molecular or metabolic nature of disease;

Organ Systems Functions [Medical Physiology] - BM509 (5 Credits)

The overall objective of our physiology course is to cover basic concepts of systems physiology and to apply these concepts to clinical medicine wherever possible. To achieve these goals, four approaches to teaching are utilized: lectures on basic concepts, clinical correlations, computer simulations of physiological and disease processes, and small groups. The lectures consist of 50-minute presentations on fundamental
concepts of physiology. Clinical correlations consist of lectures on the application of basic physiological concepts to clinical practice. Clinical correlations follow corresponding basic concepts lectures. The computer simulations laboratory is used to reinforce and/or integrate the various concepts covered in the lectures.

The physiology course is divided into three different segments covering various systems in the human body. We begin with membrane, muscle and a portion of cardiovascular physiology (themes: membrane phenomena, electrical and contractile activity). We then proceed to cardiovascular, respiratory, and renal physiology (themes: fundamental cardiovascular parameters, blood gases and acid base). The course concludes with endocrinology, reproductive, and gastrointestinal physiology (themes: hormonal regulation of all aspects of the body). Because the endocrine system interacts with all of the systems of the body, many of the earlier topics will be reinforced as the endocrine and GI systems are discussed. To maintain consistency, we have attempted to have one lecturer teach each system.

Detailed objectives for each of the major sections of the course and lectures follow the guidelines established by the American Physiological Society Medical Objectives Project.

Medical Neuroscience - BM514 (4 credits)

The learning objectives for the course are aligned with:

  1. The Association of American Medical Colleges’ learning objectives for its core attributes:

Altruism - by way of multiple presentations of patients and advocacy groups to promote ethical decision making, compassion, honesty and integrity, need to collaborate, and patient advocacy.

Knowledge - by way of normal structure and function, molecular mechanisms, biochemical and cellular mechanisms, causes of pathology, effects of pathology, and power of the scientific method.

Skill - by way of history in small group cases and clinical presentations; organ system exams (by understanding the neurological exam); routine procedures (common neurological tests); interpretation of common diagnostic procedures (as related to neurological and psychiatric disorders); most frequent features of pathologies (neurological and psychiatric); deductive reasoning; management of patients with common pathology (by understanding the bio-psycho-social model of neurological and psychiatric diseases); recognition of life threatening problems (major neurological signs and symptoms); critical care (by understanding, e.g., the secondary responses to brain injury); pain and suffering; and effective communication (by way of small group and clinical presentations.)

Duty - by way of understanding the role of psychosocial factors in neurological and psychiatric diseases; epidemiology within defined populations; and risk factors such as those related to Alzheimer’s disease across ethnicity.

  1. The 2008 Thematic Initiatives of the NIH Neuroscience Blueprint for Neuroscience Research: neurodevelopment, neurodegeneration, neuroplasticity and interdisciplinary training in the clinical neurosciences.
  2. The eight core concepts of the Society for Neuroscience: the brain is the body’s most complex organ; neurons communicate using both electric and chemical signals; genetically determined circuits are the foundation of the nervous system; life experience changes the nervous system; intelligence arises as the brain reasons, plans, and solves problems; the brain makes it possible to communicate knowledge through language; the human brain endows us with the natural curiosity to understand how the world works; and fundamental discoveries promote healthy living and treatment of disease.