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The 12 pre-clerkship (years one and two) blocks, along with four longitudinal courses, comprise the pre-clerkship curriculum.

Each block is directed by a pair of accomplished educators, one a basic scientist, one a physician. This intentional pairing ensures that students receive current and critical instruction in the basic sciences as well as relevant clinical application of the material in each block. For example, basic sciences sessions centered on normal regulation of blood pressure are followed by clinical sessions centered on evaluation and management of hypertension. Within each block, each of the basic science disciplines is thoroughly covered and/or reviewed as appropriate:

  • Anatomy/imaging/radiology.
  • Biochemistry.
  • Cell biology/histology.
  • Genetics/personalized medicine.
  • Microbiology/infectious disease.
  • Neuroscience.
  • Pathology.
  • Pharmacology.
  • Physiology.

Block directors also work closely with theme directors to ensure our thematic content is woven throughout each block in an organ systems-relevant manner. A wide variety of pedagogical methods has been scrutinized by our faculty and each block director carefully matches specific content to best practices delivery. Our teaching methods include:

  • BioPac medical physiology laboratories.
  • Case-based instruction (CBI).
  • Cadaveric dissection laboratories.
  • Grand round-style panel presentations.
  • Independent learning modules.
  • Interactive lectures.
  • Patient panels.
  • Small group research and presentation sessions.
  • Simulations.
  • Team-based learning.
  • Flipped classroom methods.

Student assessment of their medical knowledge gained in each block is accomplished by exams that occur approximately every two-three weeks. The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)-style multiple choice exams occur at flexible times that students can choose from and are administered on the students' laptops. The USMLE-style format has proven very valuable to our students as it tests on basic and clinical science-relevant material in an environment that simulates the actual board examinations.