Course Director's Guide

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Educational Program Objectives

The educational program of the School of Medicine is designed to achieve the multiple goals of dissemination of knowledge through teaching, application of knowledge through clinical practice, and creation of new knowledge through scientific research. The specific educational program objectives set forth below reflect the essential requirements for physicians to act in an ethical and altruistic fashion while providing competent medical care and fulfilling their obligations to their patients.

I. Graduates must demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the structure and function of the human body to recognize alterations from the normal. They must recognize the various causes of such abnormalities and their pathogenesis.

At the completion of the medical school curriculum, students must be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the normal structure and function of the human body and each of its major organ systems.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the molecular, biochemical and cellular mechanisms which help maintain the body's homeostasis.
  • Synthesize the various causes (genetic, developmental, metabolic, toxic, microbiologic, autoimmune, neoplastic, degenerative, and traumatic) of diseases and the ways in which they impact on the body (pathogenesis).
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the altered structure and function (pathology and pathophysiology) of the body and its major organ systems that are seen in various diseases and conditions.
  • Apply principles of epidemiological sciences in establishing the causation of disease and efficacy of traditional and nontraditional therapies.

II. Graduates must utilize the necessary diagnostic and interventional skills to accurately evaluate, diagnose and plan treatment appropriate for each patient.

At the completion of the medical school curriculum, students must be able to:  

  • Obtain an accurate medical history that covers all essential aspects of the patient's history, including issues related to age, gender, ethnic and socioeconomic status.
  • Perform both a complete and an organ system specific examination, including one for mental status.
  • Perform routine technical procedures including, at a minimum, venipuncture, inserting an intravenous catheter, airway management, inserting a nasogastric tube, inserting a Foley catheter and suturing simple lacerations.
  • Interpret results of commonly used diagnostic tests and procedures, i.e., laboratory, roentgenographic, electrocardiographic.
  • Utilize knowledge of the most frequent manifestations of common disorders.
  • Reason deductively in solving clinical problems.
  • Construct appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic plans/strategies for patients with common conditions, both acute and chronic, including medical, surgical and psychiatric conditions, and those requiring short- and long-term rehabilitation.
  • Identify patients with immediately life-threatening conditions, i.e., infectious, cardiac, pulmonary, allergic, neurologic or psychiatric diseases regardless of etiology, and to institute appropriate initial therapy.
  • Recognize and outline initial management for patients with conditions requiring critical care.
  • Apply knowledge about how to relieve pain and ameliorate suffering of patients.
  • Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, with patients, patients' families.

III. Graduates must demonstrate those characteristics, attitudes and values that are needed to provide ethical and beneficent medical care for all patients.

At the completion of the medical school curriculum, students must be able to:

  • Apply knowledge of theories and principles that govern ethical decision making, and of the major ethical questions in medicine, particularly those at the beginning and end of life and those that surface from the rapid expansion of technology.
  • Demonstrate honesty and integrity in all interactions with patients, families, colleagues and others with whom physicians must interact in their professional lives.
  • Advocate the interests of one's patients over one's own interests at all times.
  • Analyze the threats to medical professionalism posed by the conflicts of interest inherent in various financial and organizational arrangements for the practice of medicine.
  • Evaluate and accept limitations in one's knowledge and clinical skills and commit to continuously improve one's knowledge and abilities.

IV. Graduates must employ systematic approaches for promoting, maintaining and improving the health of individuals and population.

At the completion of the medical school curriculum, students must be able to:

  • Identify the important non-biological determinants of poor health and of the economic, psychological, social and cultural factors that contribute to the development and/or continuation of maladies.
  • Apply knowledge of the epidemiology of common maladies within a defined population and the systematic approaches useful in reducing the incidence and prevalence of those maladies.
  • Identify factors that place individuals at risk for disease or injury, to select appropriate tests for detecting patients at risk for specific diseases or in the early stage of disease, and to determine strategies for responding appropriately.
  • Retrieve from electronic databases and other resources, manage and utilize biomedical information for solving problems and make decisions that are relevant to the care of individuals and populations.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of various approaches to the organization, financing and delivery of health care.
  • Provide care to patients who are unable to pay and to advocate for access to health care for members of traditionally underserved populations.

V. Graduates must demonstrate the ability to engage in an interprofessional team in a manner that optimizes safe, effective patient- and population-centered care.

At the completion of the medical school curriculum, students must be able to:

  • Establish and maintain a climate of mutual respect, dignity, diversity, ethical integrity and trust among health professionals.
  • Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, with colleagues and health care team members with whom physicians must exchange information in carrying out their responsibilities.
  • Provide compassionate and nonjudgmental treatment of all patients, and respect for the privacy and dignity of all patients.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of, and respect for, the roles of other health care professionals, and of the need to collaborate and work with others in caring for individual patients and in promoting the health of defined populations.

VI. Graduates must demonstrate the qualities required to sustain lifelong personal and professional growth.

At the completion of the medical school curriculum, students must be able to:

  • Engage in lifelong learning to stay abreast of relevant scientific advances.
  • Assess self-awareness of knowledge, skills, and emotional limitations to engage in appropriate help-seeking behaviors.
  • Demonstrate leadership skills that enhance team functioning and the learning environment.
  • Develop an understanding of skills and strategies to maintain work life integration.
Adapted from Learning Objectives for Medical Student Education, Guidelines for Medical Schools, AAMC, 1998. Revised by the School of Medicine Curriculum Committee, July 2009; Updated by the School of Medicine Curriculum Committee, November 2019