The Medical Education Program Curriculum
The UCR School of Medicine's unique curriculum prepares our graduates for distinguished careers in clinical practice, teaching, and research
The curriculum in the first two years integrates the science of human biology and disease, recognizing that medicine is a multi-faceted discipline that pulls simultaneously from many aspects of science to focus on the medical concerns of individual patients. Years 1 & 2 also introduces students to fundamental clinical skills. Instruction is driven by cases explored in small groups, laboratories, conferences, clinical skills workshops and independent study.
There are five instructional blocks in the first year, focusing primarily on an integrated approach to human biological systems. Also in year 1, students will begin their three-year Longitudinal Ambulatory Care Experience where they participate in the care of patients under the supervision of a physician-mentor.
In year 2, there are four instructional blocks, focusing on disease processes, followed by a one-week integrative assessment module. Third year students have an educational experience in the core areas of medicine, surgery, family medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics-gynecology, psychiatry, neurology and emergency medicine at medical centers and hospitals in Inland Southern California. In the fourth year, students complete selectives, elective clinical experiences, and will complete a community project that leads to a scholarly presentation at the end of their fourth year.
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Block 1: Foundations of Medicine I
Surveys principles of genetics, and molecular, cellular and developmental biology in relation to human disease processes. Coverage includes basics of cell cycle regulation, gene expression, protein processing, signal transduction, ion transport and action potentials, genetics, embryology, cancer biology, immunology and pharmacology. Laboratory sessions provide an overview of cell structure and tissue organization along with thematically relevant concepts of histopathology.
Block 2: Cardiovascular, Renal, & Respiratory Medicine I
Surveys the organization and integrative operation of the cardiovascular, renal, respiratory and autonomic nervous systems and their responses to stress and disease. Selected laboratory exercises demonstrate key principles of electrocardiography, blood pressure regulation, renal function, body fluid composition and volumes, and pulmonary function. Laboratories emphasize methods for measuring cardiac, pulmonary and renal function.
Block 3: Gastrointestinal, Endocrine, & Reproductive Health I
Surveys gastrointestinal physiology, medical biochemistry and molecular endocrinology (with an emphasis on metabolic disorders and human nutrition). Coverage includes anemia, clotting disorders, hepatitis, alcoholic cirrhosis, diabetes, celiac diseases, osteoporosis, diseases of steroid metabolism, reproductive disorders, thyroid disorders, pituitary disorders, and pharmacokinetics. Gross anatomy lectures and laboratories cover upper and lower GI tract, abdominal cavity and wall, the pelvis and perineum.
Block 4: Musculoskeletal Medicine
Covers the structures and functions of the peripheral nervous and musculoskeletal systems with a strong clinical emphasis. Students learn how the brain and spinal cord receive sensory input, and control skeletal muscle, and are introduced to neurology. Gross anatomy lectures and laboratories focus on the upper and lower extremities.
Block 5: Clinical Neurosciences I
Covers the structures and functions of the central nervous system including the visual and auditory systems. Gross anatomy lectures and laboratories focus on the head and neck. Students are also introduced to the neurochemical basis of psychiatric disorders and psychiatry as well as neurogenetics.
Clinical Medicine: Year-Long Introduction
Students will be introduced to core clinical skills early in the first year of the curriculum through a variety of courses including doctoring, clinical skills, problem-based learning and preceptorship. Beginning in the first block students will explore connections between basic science knowledge and clinical medicine in a small-group learning environment, problem-based learning. Clinical skills and doctoring will introduce students to fundamental skills in communication and physical diagnosis. Each student will be assigned to a community-based preceptor with whom they will work throughout the first year to refine their patient care skills with real patients in an office-based setting.
Block 6: Foundations of Medicine II
Covers the pathophysiology, pharmacology, physical diagnosis and treatment of bacterial, viral, fungal and parasite-mediated infectious diseases; host defense and immunity; immune system disorders; topics in clinical hematology and oncology; and epidemiology and clinical reasoning skills.
Block 7: Gastrointestinal, Endocrine, & Reproductive Health II
Advanced clinical perspective of anatomy, biochemistry, pathophysiology, physical diagnosis and imaging associated with endocrinology, reproductive health and disease, GI diseases, gender-specific diseases, skin manifestations of systemic disease, common infectious diseases and therapeutics, common cancers, prevention, and nutrition.
Block 8: Clinical Neurosciences II
Covers advanced clinical perspective of neurology, neuropathology, psychiatry, and neuropharmacology that is coordinated with physical and psychological clinical skills development.
Block 9: Cardiovascular, Renal, & Respiratory Medicine II
Pathology and pathophysiology of these systems (continued), including hypertension, developmental disorders, therapeutics - pharmaceuticals and other treatments, clinical trials and epidemiology, common cancers, common infectious agents and therapeutics, and prevention.
Block 10: Integrative Assessment
Students are provided USMLE Board review presentations on various subjects, complete the NBME Basic Science Comprehensive Exam, and must demonstrate mastery of their clinical skills by passing the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).
Advanced Clinical Skills
In the second year, students will continue to refine their clinical skills in problem-based learning, doctoring and clinical skills. These courses will reinforce the lessons of the first year while also introducing students to more advanced techniques and focused application. In the second year, students will also begin the Longitudinal Ambulatory Care Experience, a two-year long continuity clinic experience. Students, working in small groups, will develop a patient practice in an ambulatory, community-based clinical setting.
In Year 3, each student will have an educational experience in the core areas of medicine, surgery, family medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics-gynecology, psychiatry, neurology and emergency medicine at medical centers and hospitals in Inland Southern California. Students will also spend one week of each clerkship in a community-based setting, giving them the opportunity to participate in the care of patients in diverse settings while gaining experience and understanding of the health care needs of the community.
Throughout the third year, students will continue their Longitudinal Ambulatory Clinical Experience, spending a half day each week continuing to provide care, under supervision, to the same panel of patients with whom they interacted in the second year.
As students progress into the fourth year, they will complete three selectives, elective clinical experiences designed to expand or deepen learners clinical expertise, specifically designed to prepare them for residency training and the level of responsibility and supervision expected during postgraduate training. Students will round out and customize their experiences with electives in advanced clinical clerkships and research. Students will also complete a community project that will lead to a scholarly presentation at the end of the fourth year.