PRE-CLINICAL SCIENCES

PRE-CLINICAL SCIENCES

Our Pre-Clinical Sciences curriculum consists of lectures, research, and lab-based teaching at our state-of-the-art campus in San Pedro. All courses are designed in the USMLE format, and study is supplemented with hands-on clinical training at the local hospital whenever possible. Small class sizes offer you one-on-one attention from our experienced, enthusiastic professors. Tutoring and mentoringare available as well as a supportive student community that offers plenty of opportunities for peer-led learning groups.

CURRICULUM

SEMESTER ONE

  • Gross Anatomy with Lab - 9 credits
  • Embryology – 4 credits
  • Histology and Cell Biology with Lab – 9 credits
  • Medical Terminology – 3 credits
  • Clinical Skills I – 3 credits
  • Clinical Correlation I – 1 credit
  • NBME Subject Exams in: Gross Anatomy/Embryology, Histology

SEMESTER TWO

  • Biochemistry with Nutrition and Genetics – 8 credits
  • Neuroscience/Neuro-Anatomy with Lab – 9 credits
  • Physiology with Lab – 9 credits
  • Clinical Skills II – 3 credits
  • Clinical Correlation II – 1 credit
  • NBME Subject Exams in: Biochemistry/Nutrition/Genetics, Neuroscience, Physiology

SEMESTER THREE

  • Microbiology and Immunology with Lab – 8 credits
  • Behavioral Science and Epi/Biostats – 7 credits
  • Medical Ethics – 2 credits
  • General Pathology I – 6 credits
  • Clinical Skills III – 4 credits
  • Clinical Correlation III – 1 credit
  • NBME Subject Exams in: Microbiology/Immunology, Behavioral Science/Ethics/Epidemiology/Biostatistics

SEMESTER FOUR

  • Systemic Pathology II – 6 credits
  • Pharmacology – 6 credits
  • Introduction to Clinical Diagnosis – 6 credits
  • Clinical Correlation IV – 1 credit
  • NBME Subject Exams in: Pathology, Pharmacology, Introduction to Clinical Diagnosis

SEMESTER FIVE

  • USMLE Review – 22 credits
  • NBME Subject Exam in: Comprehensive Basic Science/Pre-Clinical Science

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

SEMESTER I

MD100 Anatomy with Lab – 9 Credits

Anatomy focuses on the gross structure of organs and functions and, through clinical correlations, relates each to clinical medicine. An Anatomical Learning Resource Center has been established to utilize computer-based instruction, anatomical models, radiographic materials as well as supervised laboratory sessions dissecting various parts of the human body. Students study the structure and function of all organs with some interaction with cellular structure.

MD101 Embryology - 4 Credits

Embryology is divided into General Embryology that deals with the formation and development of germ cells, fertilization, and early development of the human embryo; and Special Embryology that deals with the formation and malformations of different organs. This course helps students acquire the ability to understand, analyze and solve problems in other medical courses and in the clinical management of diseases.

MD102 Histology and Cell Biology with Lab– 9 Credits

This course centers on the study of the microscopic structure of normal human cells, tissues, and organs. Virtual microscopy is used to study the structure of basic tissue types and their integration into organs and organ systems. The lectures correlate microscopic and gross anatomy with basic histophysiology and function of organ systems. On completion, the student must be able to identify, describe, and give the function of cells, tissues, structures, and organs of the human body presented via lecture and digital imagery. Students must complete specific performance objectives which accompany individual lecture segments, and, where appropriate, be able to integrate histology with other classes of the curriculum. This course develops the necessary understanding of how the cell functions at the cellular, organelle and molecular levels. Students are exposed to a wide variety of topics, such as cell structures and their functions, membrane transport, signal transduction, DNA replication and repair, transcription, translation, regulation of gene expression, cancer, and molecular biology techniques.

MD103 Medical Terminology – 3 Credits

This course focuses on the language of medicine. Medical Terminology is like learning a new language. Medical terms are derived from Greek and Latin. Understanding the terms will be easier when you learn the way to analyze the elements of the word. Most medical terms have a ‘root’ which signifies a disease, procedure, or body part. The word then has a ‘prefix’ and/or ‘suffix’ which provides you more information as to the exact location, position, specific procedure, etc. When you know how to break down the word, you are able to gain an immense amount of information even if you’ve never seen the word before.

MD104 Clinical Skills I – 3 Credits

This is the first course in a three-part series that focuses on communication skills, eliciting the patient’s history, performing a physical exam and communicating their findings to healthcare professionals through oral presentations and written notes. In this course, students will learn and practice the foundations of patient-physician communication skills, including initiating the session, building the relationship, exploration of problems, understanding the patient agenda and structuring the consultation. Students will also learn the steps of eliciting the patient’s story in a patient-centered manner and the components of a complete screening physical exam. The patient-centered history consists of explaining and planning a treatment plan and having communications skill in specific situations including delivering bad news, cultural and social diversity, and demonstration of empathy. Instruction on the history including the past medical history, family history, social history, and complete review of systems. In addition, students will begin to develop their skills by documenting their findings in a patient note though oral presentations and the patient note.

MD105 Clinical Correlation I – 1 Credit

This course has been designed to introduce the student to case-enhanced problem-based learning. In this approach, fundamental knowledge is mastered by the solving of problems. Information is learned or reviewed by the student in an active learning mode and promotes lifelong learning. This case-enhanced style employs student initiative as the driving force for problem solving. Teamwork and critical thinking are emphasized. The list of clinically-oriented cases and topics is taken from the MD1 Subjects.

SEMESTER II

MD200 Biochemistry with Nutrition and Genetics – 8 Credits

This course focuses on the interrelationship and regulation of metabolic pathways as it pertains to understanding the mechanism of disease states which includes the Medical Nutrition and Medical Genetics aspects. The student is prepared accordingly through a discussion of the principles of biochemistry including anabolic and catabolic reactions as permitted by the generation and use of energy. Biochemical mechanisms are utilized to justify particular signs and symptoms noted in certain clinical conditions. In doing so a comprehensive understanding of the metabolism of Proteins, Carbohydrates, Lipids, and other Nitrogen containing molecules is achieved. Medical Nutrition is the evaluation of an individual’s nutritional status based on the interpretation of clinical information. Nutrition assessment is an important tool in clinical medicine because malnutrition (both obesity and undernutrition) is a common clinical finding. Many patients can benefit from medical nutrition therapy (MNT) using established evidence-based protocols. The purpose of nutrition assessment is to accurately evaluate an individual’s dietary intake and nutritional status; and determine if medical nutrition therapy and/or counseling is needed; and monitor changes in nutritional status; and evaluate the effectiveness of nutritional intervention. The Medical Genetics component provides a description of the human genome including the details of DNA, gene, and chromosome structure, the basics of gene expression, and the various forms of inheritance. The overall goal is to use this knowledge to better understand the molecular mechanisms of how genetic mutations lead to the single gene and complex disorders described in the textbook case studies. Specific course topics include gene mapping and disease gene identification, the treatment of genetic disease, prenatal diagnosis, cancer genetics, and pharmacogenetics.

MD201 Neuroscience/Neuroanatomy with Lab – 9 Credits

Neuroscience begins with an overview of the entire nervous system. As the course progresses, the focus is on comprehending the basic structure and function of each level of the nervous system, integrating both the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system. The principles that underlie the anatomical structure of each system of the brain are correlated with its physiology; correlations between the functional deficits and the pathological anatomy in several neurological diseases which require working knowledge of anatomy and physiology are stressed. Special attention is given to integrating current understandings of human neurological and psychiatric diseases, and each topic is supplemented by relevant lab exercises which include detailed brain dissection and exposure to angiograms, CT scans, MRI, etc.

MD202 Physiology with Lab – 9 Credits

Physiology concentrates on how the various organ systems that comprise the human body function. The major objective of this course is to enable the student to acquire a sound understanding of the mechanisms upon which life depends through an integrated study of the many control systems that maintain homeostasis. Emphasis is placed on the mechanisms that maintain a homeostasis under a variety of conditions. The course begins with a study of basic physiological principles, such as, the transport of ions, intracellular signaling, osmosis, membranes, and their electrical properties. Following the presentation of the basic principles of cellular physiology, which includes muscle and nerve, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, gastrointestinal, endocrines, reproductive physiology are taught and integrated into total body function. Temperature regulation and the integrated physiological responses to exercise and adverse environments are also presented.

MD203 Clinical Skills II – 3 Credits

After a review of the skills developed in Clinical Skills I, students will learn to communicate in a patient-centered manner in other specific situations including patients with mental illness, obtaining information from the other caregivers, providing advocacy and support to the medically unexplained symptoms. Students will continue to refine their ability to obtain a complete problem-focused history and physical exam in a patient-centered manner and will begin to learn to obtain a problem-focused history. Physical exam skills will be reinforced by more in-depth instruction in the physical exam skills that correspond to the Systems and Disease, concentrating on the integumentary, head and neck, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, and mental status and neurological systems. Documentation skills will focus on the complete history and physical exam with oral presentations and the patient note.

MD204 Clinical Correlation II – 1 Credit

The second course in clinical correlations further introduces the student to case-enhanced problem-based learning. In this approach, fundamental knowledge is mastered by the solving of problems. Information is learned or reviewed by the student in an active learning mode and promotes lifelong learning. This case-enhanced style employs student initiative as the driving force for problem solving. The list of clinically-oriented cases/topics is taken from the MD1 and MD2 Subjects.

SEMESTER III

MD300 Microbiology and Immunology with Lab 8 Credits

Microbiology teaches students the basic concepts of infectious disease in a lecture and laboratory setting. The goal of the course is for students to gain a basic knowledge and understanding of microbial diagnosis of Bacteria, Viruses, Fungus, Protozoa and Parasites. The etiology, pathogenesis and genetics of bacterial infection are key foundations to the study of microbes. Students will learn the symptoms that help in diagnosis of a patient and how these symptoms relate to disease. The Immunology component begins with a general overview and introduction to the immune system including a description of the cells and tissues involved with innate and adaptive immunity. This is followed by descriptions of the molecular and cellular mechanisms employed in innate immune responses, and for those used in the humoral and cell-mediated arms of adaptive immunity. This includes the details of antigen processing and presentation by antigen presenting cells and the central role of MHC molecules in this process. The maturation and selection of B and T lymphocytes and the production of the diverse antigen receptors required for lymphocyte activation are also described in detail. The pathways of lymphocyte activation are followed by an explanation for the generation of the different effector functions and memory cells produced during a humoral or cell-mediated response.

MD301 Behavioral Science with Epidemiology and Biostatistics – 7 Credits

Behavioral Sciences stresses the complex relationship between psychological make-up and experience, by providing a knowledge base for normative and non-normative human development throughout the life cycle. The course also introduces the student to the behavioral basis of clinical medicine by focusing on common behavioral problems and the circumstances that evoke important behavioral or emotional responses. The principles of biostatistics are introduced in this course, emphasizing both the practice of interviewing, and collecting data. The epidemiology of disease and concepts of Public Health and Industrial Medicine are also covered in this course. Finally, the course will end with discussions of broad issues related to health care delivery, health care legislation and costs, and a comparative discussion of health care systems.

MD302 Medical Ethics – 2 Credits

Medical Ethics is designed to introduce ethical, professional, and legal issues that arise in the practice of medicine. This course provides an overview of the salient issues for students, tools used to recognize ethical, professional, and legal conflicts in clinical settings, and resources to critically examine and address questions and concerns these conflicts present in patient care.

MD303 General Pathology - 6 Credits

Pathology introduces students to the cellular system of each organ and traces the morphological changes in a cell that are responsible for a disease in an organ. As cells undergo alteration, their change in function is studied in respect to its deviation from the “normal” state. Course presentation includes the response of cells, tissues and organs to disease and injury; the normal and adapted cell; degeneration and necrosis, inflammation, fluid, and hemodynamic derangements; neoplasia; immunopathology; systemic, environmental, and nutritional disease. Lecture discussions are supplemented by a study of gross and microscopic specimens.

MD304 Clinical Skills III – 3 Credits

After review of the skills developed in Clinical Skills I and II, students will continue to develop their communication skill and ability to perform a complete history and physical exam. Physical exam skills will be reinforced by more in-depth instruction in the physical exam skill that corresponds to systems and diseases concentrating on the gastrointestinal, endocrine, vascular, reproductive, and musculoskeletal systems. Students will learn to assess special populations which include children, pregnant women, and older adults. Students further develop their ability to complete a problem-focused history and physical exam. Documentation skills will be further developed with focused patient visits, with additional instruction on medical order writing, diagnostic decision- making and prescription writing.

MD305 Clinical Correlation III – 1 Credit

The third course in clinical correlations is a continuation of the student to case-enhanced problem-based learning. In this approach, fundamental knowledge is mastered by the solving of problems. Information is learned or reviewed by the student in an active learning mode and promotes lifelong learning. This case-enhanced style employs student initiative as the driving force for problem solving. The list of clinically-oriented cases/topics is taken from the MD1 through MD3 Subjects.

SEMESTER IV

MD400 Systemic Pathology - 6 Credits

Pathology II applies the basic concepts learned in Pathology I to continue the study of the pathologic basis of disease using a physiologic system, or organ-based approach. This course covers red and white cell diseases, male and female genital tracts, and kidney and liver systems.

MD401 Pharmacology – 6 Credits

This course concentrates on how chemical agents (drugs) regulate or modify physiological functions of the body, demonstrating how interactions of drugs with living organisms contribute to diagnosis, prevention, treatment, or cure of diseases. Biologic responses, physiological alterations and correction of disorder or disease are discussed for each drug class highlighting receptor interaction, which defines the agent’s boundaries of efficacy.

MD402 Introduction to Clinical Diagnosis – 6 Credits

This course is designed to introduce students to the basic skills they will need to function as effective clinicians. History taking and physical examination skills are taught in practical classes using the latest technological media, including stimulators (adult, pediatric and adolescent). The course addresses a range of clinical skills necessary for the future development as a physician, including clinical assessment and plan for the care of patients using library and computer search of evidence-based information for patient care.Professionalism in doctor-patient, doctor-doctor, and doctor-society interaction is stressed.

MD404 Clinical Correlation IV – 1 Credit

The final course in clinical correlation provides practice in case-enhanced problem-based learning that integrates what has been learned in the pre-clinical sciences. In this approach, fundamental knowledge is mastered by the solving of problems. Information is learned or reviewed by the student in an active learning mode and promotes lifelong learning. This case-enhanced style employs student initiative as the driving force for problem solving. Teamwork and critical thinking are emphasized. At this level, the list of clinically-oriented cases/topics is taken from the MD1 through MD4 Subjects.

SEMESTER V

MD500 USMLE Review – 22 Credits

Major emphasis of these classes will be to familiarize the student to the pattern of questions that are asked in USMLE step I. The classes are not meant to review the subjects in depth but to integrate the knowledge gained from various Basic Science subjects and give an overview as to how to apply such knowledge in the clinic and to answer clinically relevant topics. For instance, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, and pathology (including immunology, microbiology, and molecular biology) as applied to each organ system will be reviewed rapidly and the relevant diseases pertaining to the system under discussion will be discussed. For example, while reviewing the endocrine system- anatomy of various endocrine organs, their physiological function, and biochemical aspects of the synthesis of various hormones will be discussed including embryology, and a brief mention of various endocrine diseases will be mentioned with emphasis on the pathological processes involved and their treatment including pharmacology of the drugs used in these diseases. The same pattern will be followed for other organ systems and their diseases. Since major emphasis in USMLE Step 1 examination is to ask questions that are clinically relevant, such a review covering various basic and clinical aspects of all the organ systems will familiarize the student as to how to prepare for the examination and, in turn, face the test with more confidence. In addition, such a preparation will teach the student as to how to apply knowledge of basic sciences to clinically relevant situations and arrive at the right decision both in making the correct diagnosis and applying the right therapeutic treatment.