Foundations of Medicine & Health

The first block, Becoming a Doctor, is five weeks in duration, and gives students an understanding of population health and the doctor's role in society. Typically students begin their medical education by studying basic science at the molecular level, and are often not fully aware of the relevance that this knowledge has in their future education as physicians or how it relates to the actual practice of medicine. This curricular block focuses on how physicians can act as advocates for their patients in the health care system; how social and environmental factors impact health; and the importance of population health. Medical students participate in a variety of experiential, longitudinal, learning experiences designed to introduce them to key population health concepts including epidemiology, biostatistics, community assessment, health risk behavior, and social-environmental determinants of health.

The next five blocks in the Foundations of Medicine and Health are comprised of basic science education, early contact with patients in clinical preceptorships and simulated clinical experiences. Subject matter is integrated across entire biological systems, which permits faculty in the different disciplines to leverage teaching time to convey content and concepts common to their disciplines.

Year I and Year II Blocks

Year 1 (July - May)

Block Name Duration Focus Experiences
Block 1 - Becoming a Doctor 5 Weeks Population Health, Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Bioethics, Health Disparities
  • Field Experiences
  • Assessment Week
Block 2 - The Human Blueprint 11 Weeks Endocrinology, Reproduction, Development, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Cancer Biology
  • Assessment Week
Block 3 - Food to Fuel 10 Weeks Gastrointestinal, Nutrition, Biochemistry
  • Assessment Week
Block 4 - Homeostasis 14 Weeks Cardiovascular, Pulmonary, Renal, Cell Physiology, and Pharmacology
  • Clinical Immersion Week
  • Assessment Week
Research and Scholarship

4 Weeks

Part I  

Year 2 (August - March)

Block Name Duration Focus Experiences
Research and Scholarship 8 Weeks Part II, III  
Block 5 - Host Defense and Host Response 14 Weeks Immunology, Microbiology, Hematology, Oncology, Infectious Diseases, Rheumatology, Dermatology, Musculoskeletal
  • Assessment Week
Block 6 - Cognition, Sensation and Movement 13 Weeks Neurology and Mind
  • Assessment Week

Content is divided into the following blocks:

  • The Human Blueprint (Block 2) - endocrine and reproductive systems, development, genetics, molecular biology, and cancer biology
  • Food to Fuel (Block 3) - gastrointestinal physiology/pathophysiology, nutrition, energy metabolism and biochemistry
  • Homeostasis (Block 4) - cell physiology, principles of pharmacology, cardiovascular, pulmonary, and renal physiology/pathophysiology
  • Host Defense and Host Response (Block 5) - microbiology, hematology/oncology, skin, auto-immune system, and musculoskeletal
  • Cognition, Sensation and Movement (Block 6) - neurosciences and mind

Several concepts and themes stretch longitudinally across these blocks, including Structure (block 7-GARLA and Histopathology) as well as clinical mastery. Teamwork, interprofessional collaboration and bioethics are likewise incorporated longitudinally.

Blocks 2-6 follow a common pattern. The blocks all culminate with a dedicated assessment week during which time students and faculty have opportunities to integrate and assess learning. Block 4 (Homeostasis) has a Clinical Immersion Week during which students leave the classroom and enter the clinical setting to see the relevance of the basic science they have been studying as the concepts are used in the patient care setting.

Foundations of Clinical Medicine (Block 8): This segment of the clinical curriculum runs longitudinally through the Foundations of Medicine and Health and seeks to develop a broad range of clinical and professional capabilities.

Typical Week in the Foundations of Medicine and Health

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8 - 10 a.m. Case Inquiry Foundations of Clinical Medicine Seminar Case Inquiry Self-Directed Learning Case Inquiry
10 a.m. - noon Lectures/ Medium Groups/TBL

Structure (GARLA/

Lectures/ Medium Groups/TBL

Research & Scholarship

Lectures/ Medium Groups/TBL
noon - 1 p.m.       Self-Directed Learning  
1 - 5 p.m. Clinical Skills and Preceptorship        
3 - 5 p.m.     Collaborative Practice I