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Curriculum


Doctor of Medicine (MD) Degree Program

The curriculum is built upon study in five major strands: Human Biology; Human Disease, Illness, and Injury; Clinical Medicine; Professional Development; and Green Family Foundation Medicine and Society Program. General competencies and educational program objectives guide curricular content within each strand. The curriculum is divided into four periods of study containing courses within each of the five strands. Basic medical science, clinical medical science and clinical skills are integrated throughout the four periods of study. Course work is multidisciplinary and features a case format in which basic science is learned in a clinical context. Clinical experiences in primary care and emergency settings begin in the first period of study as coordinated opportunities for practical application basic knowledge, skills and reasoning. Students are engaged with families, households, and communities in a longitudinal service-learning program in collaboration with FIU students from other health professions. Clinical training begins with basic medical conditions in outpatient settings and advances progressively with more complex cases and conditions in hospital settings, culminating in subinternship experiences. Independent scholarship and broad elective opportunities in the third and fourth periods encourage students to explore personal interests and build individualized competencies in preparation for advanced postgraduate study and practice in a specialty area.

Student learning is guided by objectives for every course, defined core clinical case experiences, competency standards in specific clinical skills, and standards of professional behavior. Students log all clinical experiences and monitored for progressive development of essential skills and general competencies.

Periods of Study

The curriculum has four sequential periods of study.

Period 1 provides the foundations of medicine in core basic, clinical, and social sciences. Core basic medical sciences include medical genetics, cell biology, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology and infections, and pathology. An introduction to clinical skills focuses on doctor-patient communication, general physical exam skills, foundations of evidence-based medicine and quantitative measurements, and medical research. Studies also include medical ethics, regional cultures in relation to medicine, self-reflection, and professionalism in doctor-patient relationships. At the beginning of the period, students become certified in basic life support (BLS) in preparation for half-day primary care clinics and weekend emergency department shifts throughout the period. Medical simulations, standard patient experiences, and virtual case studies complement classroom study and prepare students for patient-centered clinical experience learning.

Period 2 is organized around in-depth study of human biology, disease, illness, and injury in an organ-system approach. Pathology, physiology, anatomy, and pharmacology are emphasized in case-based study of the major systems: hematopoietic and lymphoreticular, endocrine, reproductive, musculoskeletal, skin, gastrointestinal, renal/urinary, cardiovascular, respiratory, and nervous. Students develop clinical skills in conducting physical exams, forming differential diagnoses, and understanding how to interpret and use laboratory medicine data and imaging technologies. Clinical skills are taught as integrated and coordinated components of the organ systems. Simultaneously, courses in the strands of Professional Development and Green Family Foundation Medicine and Society Program continue, with study of health care systems and policy, interprofessional health care, community health, medical jurisprudence, and end-of-life care. Students begin their service-learning study with households in the community and begin clerkship format learning in geriatrics. They continue monthly emergency room clinical experiences.

Period 3 involves seven core clerkships: internal medicine, surgery, neurology, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry, and family medicine. Study is predominantly preceptor-guided student-patient experiences with increasingly complex medical conditions in outpatient and hospital settings. Students are guided through progressively greater responsibility as they gain experience managing care of patients. Students learn how to apply skills learned in the laboratory and demonstrate competency in core procedural skills. Learning is enhanced by simulation and virtual cases. Elective opportunities in internal medicine and surgery clerkships allow students explore specialty areas. Community and household projects continue during Period 3, and weekly conferences provide opportunities for students to work together on comprehensive, in-depth study of major medical conditions. Students are expected to pass Step 1 of the USMLE medical licensure exam at the end of the period and to demonstrate general competency in clinical skills, diagnosis of disease, and case management.

Period 4 is devoted to advanced medicine, including scholarship and exploration of specialty areas to facilitate choice of postgraduate study. Students select individualized schedules that best serve their long-term career goals. Six of the twelve required 4-week rotations are targeted selectives: 1 subinternship, 2 surgical, 2 medical, and 1 hospital-based specialty. Two rotations are dedicated to research scholarship (individual research projects), two rotations are electives, and one rotation is community medicine. The final year concludes with a 4-week Capstones experience that includes the culmination of the Green Family Foundation Medicine and Society Program, professional development workshops on career management, and a clinical medicine residency boot camp to hone clinical skills and attain certification in Advanced Cardiac Life support (ACLS).