Medical School Curriculum
The School of Medicine offers an outstanding curriculum that is designed to prepare students for any field of medicine they wish to pursue upon graduation. There is an excellent balance between basic and clinical sciences with an emphasis on the attitudes, behaviors and clinical skills necessary to effectively practice medicine.
The basic science courses in the first year focus on normal structure and function, while incorporating clinical material to emphasize the application of the basic science knowledge. Lectures are complemented by numerous small group discussions in the form of laboratories, case based discussions, problem based learning, and computer assisted instruction. The basic science courses are complemented by the yearlong Foundations in Medicine course. This course provides the foundation in the physician/patient relationship and includes medical interviewing, medical ethics, community preceptorships, service learning, preventive medicine, human behavior and the health care system. Through the use of lectures, panel presentations, small group discussions, preceptorships and working with real and standardized patients, the skills, behaviors and values necessary for the physician's relationship with patients and society is emphasized. Elective time is available two afternoons per week beginning in the second semester.
The second year emphasizes primarily abnormal structure and function while continuing to build on the clinical skills developed in the Foundations in Medicine course. The basic sciences are taught primarily as yearlong courses in a systems based approach that coordinates pathology, pathophysiology, pharmacology and physical diagnosis. Microbiology is coordinated with both pharmacology and infectious diseases. Clinical reasoning is emphasized throughout the year with continued opportunities for elective time, which can also be used by those students pursuing the combined MD/MPH degree.
The third year is devoted entirely to clinical clerkships enabling the student to participate in the diagnosis and management of patients with an extensive variety of clinical problems. These clerkships are primarily offered at the three major teaching hospitals adjacent to the School of Medicine, the Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans (Charity and University Hospitals), Tulane University Hospital and Clinic, and the Veterans Affairs Hospital of New Orleans. Other hospitals and clinics including the Huey P. Long Hospital in Pineville, Louisiana and the Ochsner Foundation Hospital in New Orleans provide additional sites. Ambulatory experiences are part of almost all clerkships and form the foundation for the clerkship in family medicine. The other clerkships include internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry and neurology and obstetrics and gynecology. Visiting students are not permitted to participate in the third year clerkships.
The senior year provides an increased measure of responsibility and prepares students for their roles as first year house officers. All students are required to complete a sub-internship in the specialty of their choice. This provides a unique opportunity for students to have the experience of being the primary caregiver for patients in a well-supervised setting. All students are also required to take the senior interdisciplinary rotation, which provides students with the opportunity to evaluate and manage undifferentiated patient who presents in the emergency room, urgent care setting or other traditional ambulatory sites in any field of medicine. For most students, the remaining six months are available as electives. For those students who are completing the degree requirements for the MD/MPH degree, one of these electives must be substituted for the MD/MPH core course. Electives are available in any field of medicine, with many students choosing to use this opportunity for extramural rotations at other medical schools in the United States and Canada. Formal exchange programs exist with the Korolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden (pediatrics), Heidelberg, Germany, Madgeberg, Germany and the Keio Medical School in Tokyo, Japan. Participation in these exchange programs requires arrangements through the Office of Student Affairs. Each year, a small number of students also make their own arrangements for elective clerkships in both developed and underdeveloped countries throughout the world.
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