MD Program Curriculum

Curriculum Years 1–4

curriculum

Year 1

Phase 1:  Foundations of Medicine

This 17-week phase includes the medical science, medical arts and clinical skills that students will require before beginning in clinics and Phase 2 units. Each week of Phase 1 will have a predominant theme. Anatomy (embryonic, microscopic and gross, including cadaver dissection), physiology, genetics, pharmacology, data analysis, metabolism and nutrition will be taught in relation to the weekly themes. Students will engage in professional development through self-exploration and self-assessment activities across Phase 1 as they examine the different psycho-social and technical dimensions of patient care.

Clinical Experience: CMC 1

The 2-year Clinical Method Curriculum (CMC) partners groups of students and core clinical faculty for the longitudinal development of clinical skills in a mentored learning community environment. Each student is assigned to a learning community with approximately 10 students and 1-2 core faculty members. Students will work within their learning communities throughout their medical school career to ensure they possess the core foundational clinical method knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors necessary to provide optimal patient care in a dynamic healthcare environment. Instructional methods include didactic presentation, small group discussion, simulation, authentic clinical experiences, and mentoring.  

Phase 2: (2.1) Molecules, Cells, and Cancer

This 8-week unit, beginning in early January, integrates molecular and cell biology with genetics, hematology, cancer biology and basic oncology. It includes a strong component of translational research as we explore how we know what we know about the molecular basis of cancer and other genetic diseases. Students begin their longitudinal clinical experience at the start of this unit. The clinical skills taught include breast, pelvic and male genital exams. Students also begin the Subspecialty Clinical Experience, where they spend one afternoon per month in a specialty clinic related to topics being learned in the classroom.

Phase 2: (2.2) Host and Defense

This 9-week unit begins in March and introduces infectious disease, the biology of the immune system, the body's response to pathogens, and antimicrobial therapy. Instruction centers on common clinical presentations, beginning with fever and then moving through major body systems while addressing increasingly complicated diseases, from sore throat to AIDS.

Clinical Experience: CMC 2

CMC II focuses on expanding history-taking skills, advanced physical examination in specific areas, professional communication skills, introduction of lab and imaging selection and interpretation, and beginning skills in diagnostic reasoning. This will be taught through a combination of lecture sessions, small group activities, independent study and Experiential Learning Opportunities (ELO). ELO activities are a component of CMC 2 and provide students with real patient interactions in which they will apply knowledge learned in all components of the medical school curriculum.  These experiences will also introduce them to the clinical environment and help them understand how to integrate into the clinical team. Core Faculty and/or practicing clinician attendings will oversee the ELO activities.  

Year 2

Phase 2: (2.3) Metabolism and Reproduction

This 9-week unit runs from late July or early August. It begins with the pathophysiology of the gastrointestinal tract and the digestion/absorption of nutrients. The basic metabolism covered in phase 1 is reviewed and built upon as we focus on the liver. Obesity, metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance lead into endocrinology. From the sex hormones, we transition to reproduction. Clinical reasoning skills, with a particular focus on causes and treatment of abdominal pain, will be emphasized throughout the unit.

Phase 2: (2.4) Circulation, Respiration and Regulation

This 11-week unit runs from October to mid-December. This unit is designed to help students develop the clinical medicine skills and medical science knowledge to be able to propose rational differential diagnoses and diagnostic and treatment strategies for clinical problems affecting the circulatory, respiratory, and renal organ systems.

Phase 2: (2.5) Brain and Behavior

This 9-week unit begins early January through February of the second calendar year. The unit integrates basic neuroanatomy and neurophysiology with the clinical disciplines of neurology, psychiatry, pathology and pharmacology. The unit provides the students with the conceptual framework necessary to recognize common neurological and mental health issues.

Phase 2: (2.6) Skin, Muscle, Bone, and Joint

Upon completion of this 6-week unit, students will be able to name, recognize and describe common dermatologic and musculoskeletal diseases, including the basic science foundations of each condition. In addition, they will describe diseases, clinical presentation and pathophysiology and define terms used on physical, microscopic and radiologic examinations. Students will be able to gather essential information from clinic patients presenting with dermatologic and musculoskeletal complaints and produce accurate, clear and organized documentation of patient encounters in the form of SOAP notes and complete H&P's. This unit provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to reason through case-based vignettes as seen in USMLE in order to prepare them for USMLE Step I licensing exam and Phases III and IV.

Clinical Experience: CMC 3-4

CMC III-IV focuses on advanced history-taking skills, advanced physical examination skills to help elicit abnormal findings, professional communication skills, further development of lab and imaging selection and interpretation, and more advanced skills in diagnostic reasoning.  These will be taught through a combination of lecture sessions, small group activities, independent study and Experiential Learning Opportunities (ELO). ELO activities provide students with real patient interactions in which they will apply knowledge learned in other components of the medical school curriculum.  These experiences will also introduce students to the clinical environment and help them understand how to integrate into the clinical team. Core faculty and/or practicing clinician attendings will oversee the ELO activities. 

Medical Arts and Humanities: Layers of Medicine 1 - 4

The Layers of Medicine course is a longitudinal, 2-year course in the pre-clerkship curriculum. The overarching goals of the Layers of Medicine course are to provide students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to: Provide compassionate care to a diverse patient population, understand the complexities of a changing health care system and how access to health care impacts patient outcomes, practice medicine informed by ethical principles,  analyze the impact of social, economic, gender, and cultural factors on health care outcomes, develop a positive professional attitude, appreciate and manage the influence of personal values and attitudes on relationships with patients, and find and utilize resources and information required for optimal patient care.

Year 3

In the third year, emphasis is on the integration of basic science knowledge with clinical, ethical, diagnostic, and problem solving skills.  Clinical clerkships, during which students learn patient management as members of the health care team, include family practice, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry, and surgery.  Students also take a Topics of Medicine course, which reviews a series of simulated patients with common medical problems seen in ambulatory medicine.  The student is also required to complete a four-week clinical neurology clerkship between the end of the sophomore year and the end of the senior year.  Each student must also satisfactorily complete an objective standardized clinical examination (OSCE) administered at the end of the 3rd year prior to being promoted to the 4th year.

Transition to Clerkship

The Transition to Clerkship course is an introduction to the Phase III Core Clinical Clerkship curriculum. It is designed to provide students with the resources and skills necessary to thrive in the clinical curriculum and to succeed as medical professionals and lifelong learners.

Family Medicine Clinical Clerkship

Six weeks with a community based of faculty family medicine preceptor.  The majority of the time is spent with the preceptor in the hospital, office, nursing homes, and on house calls. Time is also spent learning about and experiencing other elements of the health care system in the community served by the preceptor.

Internal Medicine Clinical Clerkship

Eight week rotation that consists of inpatient responsibilities, ambulatory clinic, case work and rounds on wards of the University of Utah Medical Center, LDS Hospital, or the VA Medical Center.

Neurology Clinical Clerkship

Four weeks divided into two weeks inpatient and two weeks outpatient experiences.  The inpatient rotation at the University of Utah Medical Center, Primary Children's Hospital, or VA Medical Center consists of direct patient care, daily ward rounds, brain cutting sessions, procedures such as lumbar puncture, participation in clinical conferences, and attendance at specialty clinics.  The outpatient experience occurs in the multiple sclerosis, muscle, and neurology outpatient clinics.

Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinical Clerkship

Six weeks of inpatient and outpatient experience at the University of Utah Medical Center and LDS Hospital.  Time is also spent in lectures, seminars, and review of gynecological pathology.

Pediatrics Clinical Clerkship

Six weeks divided into two three-week blocks.  three weeks are spent on the inpatient wards at Primary Children's Hospital (PCH).  The other three-week block includes one week on a pediatric subspecialty service and the other two weeks at the General Pediatric Clinic at the university of Utah Medical Center, and the newborn nursery at the University of Utah Medical Center.

Psychiatry Clinical Clerkship

Six weeks emphasizing inpatient care at the University of Utah Medical Center, VA Medical Center, Primary Children's Hospital, and the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute.  Students attend civil commitment proceedings, electroconvulsive therapy, outpatient clinics, and consultation/liaison rounds.  One day each week is devoted to a core lecture series and case conferences.  Each student spends one week on the consultation/liaison service and one half day per week in the office of an outpatient therapist.

Surgery Clinical Clerkship

Eight weeks of ward work, operating room experience, lectures, case presentations, and rounds at the University Medical Center, LDS Hospital and VA Medical Center.  Students spend six weeks on general surgery and two weeks in specialty areas.

Year 4

The University of Utah School Of Medicine utilizes a learning community model to deliver medical education and career mentoring necessary to prepare fourth year medical students for their internship (12 months). Students develop advanced skills through sub-internship, critical care, advanced internal medicine and elective courses. They prepare for entry into residency by selecting curriculum specific to their career specialty interests. 

Specialty specific mentors are designated for each specialty and are available to help with course scheduling and career mentoring.

All students graduating from the University of Utah School of Medicine must complete a sub-internship rotation, a critical care clerkship, and 4-weeks of advanced internal medicine. Students have ample elective time to explore additional clinical interests, research and seminar based courses. Additionally all students must participate in the Transition to Internship Course (TIC).

The TIC is a 2-week course after the students have matched. The course is intended to be a capstone course for their medical school career. The curriculum emphasizes clinical reasoning skills, psychomotor task training, team communication, and the delivery of curriculum thread content needed for the student to be successful in their matched internship. Hands-on task trainers, high fidelity simulation models, inter-professional education, role playing, small group discussions and formal didactic lectures are used to deliver content.