Course Descriptions

The Health of NM Block focuses students on the major health problems in New Mexico and the social determinants of these problems. Students learn the history of the efforts to improve health in New Mexico and how individual clinicians and the medical school have developed innovative approaches to target health problems at the population level. Teams of students apply this knowledge by creating and presenting an analysis of a specific major health problem, and a specific intervention that partners physicians with community groups to reduce this problem.

Block Chair: Rob Williams

Clinical Morphology is a 9-week block that overviews basic anatomical concepts, and normal human anatomy, histology and embryology as they relate to clinical practice.

Block Chair: Rebecca Hartley, PhD

Molecular Foundations of Medicine is a 4-week block that provides a foundation in cell and molecular biology, medical genetics, and introductory pharmacology on which the organ system blocks build.

Block Chairs: Rebecca Hartley, PhD

Concepts in Pathology and Tissue Morphology is a 5-week block that begins by examining fundamental aspects of Pathology including histologic evaluation of both normal and diseased tissues, inflammation, cellular adaptations to noxious stimuli, cell injury and cell death, and the development of neoplasia. In the second half, students will begin to apply these basic pathologic principles more specifically, examining both neoplastic and non-neoplastic conditions affecting the skin and musculoskeletal systems.

Block Chairs: Samuel Reynolds, MD and Cory Broehm, MD

Microbiology and Immunology is a 4-week block that begins by examining fundamental aspects of immune function, including the cells and tissues of the immune system, the function and role of the innate and adaptive immune systems, and the fundamental mechanisms of humoral and cellular immunity.  The second half of the Block provides insight into the biology of disease-causing microorganisms.

Block Chairs:  Judy Cannon, PhD and Michael Mandell, PhD

Hematology is a 3-week block that overviews basic principles of hematology and hemostasis. This course builds on concepts established during the Concepts in Pathology and Tissue Morphology block in the consideration of the diseases of the circulating elements of blood.

Block Chairs: Marian Rollins-Raval, MD MPH and Evelyn Lockhart, MD

Cardiovascular/Pulmonary/Renal is a 10-week block that provides a foundation in the basic sciences of the three organ systems as well as case-solving skills related to these disciplines. Included in this block are relevant topics in physiology, pharmacology and pathology.

Block Chairs: Helen Hathaway, PhD and Patrick Rendón, MD

GI/Nutrition/Metabolism is a 6-week course that examines the principal biological features of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the pathophysiology associated with certain disorders of this system, fundamental concepts of nutrition in maintaining and restoring patient health, and metabolic events that regulate energy production and consumption.

Block Chair: Patrick Rendón, MD

The Practical Immersion Experience is a 6-week rural community-based clinical preceptorship experience during which students live in the community to which they are assigned. Students will be mentored by a practicing community physician. PIE offers the opportunities to learn in the setting of a clinical practice, using the skills and knowledge acquired during previous lectures, Clinical Reasoning small groups, and clinical and communication skills from Doctoring 1A, 1B, and 2A. Students will integrate basic science and Doctoring skills into the day-to-day life of the practice of medicine, using patients and their problems as the springboard for their learning. PIE also offers the opportunity to observe first-hand the impact of being a physician on one’s own life and lifestyle.  Students will also be involved in a community project and will complete a narrative reflective writing assignment each week.

Block Chair: Anthony Fleg, MD

Neuroscience is a 9-week course designed to provide students with a foundation in neurosciences including neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neuropharmacology, neuropathology and behavioral neurosciences. Basic concepts are learned within the context of neurological and psychiatric disease.

Block Chairs: Fernando Valenzuela, MD, PhD and Deborah Dellmore, MD

The Human Sexuality, Reproduction and Endocrinology block’s 5-weeks focus on the basic science and important clinicopathologic aspects of the human reproductive system. The course also provides opportunities for discussion of medical aspects of human sexuality and the behavioral, social and population aspects of issues related to human reproduction.  The block will also cover the fundamentals of endocrinology and diseases of the endocrine system.

Block Chairs: Brenna McGuire, MD and Kristen Gonzales, MD

The Infectious Disease Block is a 4-week course designed to give students an understanding of the basic concepts of pathology and pharmacology that can be applied to host and pathogen interactions in infectious diseases.

Block Chairs: Mark Lacy, MD and Laura Shevy MD

Q 2-week course using a team-based learning pedagogy that focuses on principles of epidemiology and study design, a basic understanding of biostatistical principles and their application to the analysis of healthcare data and research and the use of evidence-based medicine to inform decisions to promote optimal patient care.

Block Chairs: Melissa Schiff, MD, MPH, Jon Eldredge, PhD, and Jens Langsjoen, MD

An integrated curriculum designed to (1) explicitly model and have students actively engage in the clinical reasoning process during block relevant case discussions, (2) provide structure, guidance and assessment for self-directed learning and information seeking skills, and (3) provide structure and guidance for the skills of critical judgment and medical case solving.

Block Chairs: Deepti Rao, MD, Matthew Kadish, MD and Carol Morales, MD

Wellness, Integration, Step I Study, and Education weeks are a series of 8 separate weeks interspersed between blocks during the Phase I curriculum.  This curriculum was created for the purpose of enhancing students’ learning of the evidence behind learning and optimizing performance on USMLE Step 1 and in basic science blocks. Additional key elements include integration of content and wellness throughout the 2-year curriculum.

Block Chairs: Patrick Rendón, MD and Tom Markle, PhD

The goal of the Transitions block is to assist students in transitioning from the basic science years of the curriculum to the clinical clerkships. The objectives of the transitions block are accomplished by a combination of specially designed small-group cases, lectures, demonstrations, labs, panels and numerous practical exercises to reinforce the skills needed for future success in the clinical environment.

Block Chairs: Karyn Nunez, MD

Students will be introduced to what it means to be a clinical practitioner, learn the basic techniques that clinicians use to forge the clinician-patient relationship, and learn the communication and examination techniques used to obtain essential information about the patient. They will also learn how to develop a list of patient problems, to begin thinking about how to present their patient findings in both oral and written form.

Block Chairs: Deborah Heath, MD

Students are introduced to healthcare in a primary care setting. They will observe and practice evaluations of patients under the mentorship of a primary care physician and develop basic skills in written documentation of the healthcare encounter. Students will compare and contrast the values and roles of different healthcare professions and explore interprofessional collaboration by working in healthcare teams. Students will build skills in communication, teamwork and patient evaluation by deliberate practice in simulated scenarios. They will continue to develop history and physical exam skills related to the diseases presented in the Phase 1 basic science blocks and develop skills in practice-based learning by researching questions that arise in their observation of clinical practice.

Block Chairs: Teresa Anderson, MD

Students will be assigned to work with a preceptor in a primary care clinic or in an Emergency Room in Albuquerque for a year-long experience during which students will complete 12 clinic sessions.  They will observe and practice evaluations of patients under the mentorship of a primary care or ER physician and develop basic skills in written documentation of the healthcare encounter.  They will have the opportunity to practice the skills they have been learning in Doctoring.

Block Chair:  Anthony Fleg, MD

The focus of this course is for students to build on clinical skills from previous Doctoring courses and to observe and practice focused evaluations of patients related to the concurrent basic science organ system curriculum. Student continue to practice communication skills and also learn a focused GI exam and the Neurologic exam.    Students engage in learning about how to provide care for patients with substance misuse.

Block Chairs: Ann Morrison, MD

This is the final component of the Doctoring course before students transition into clinical work in clerkships. Communication skills, physical exam, and clinical reasoning skills will be refined and integrated. 

Block Chair:  Ann Morrison, MD

This course builds on prior Doctoring course curricula, encouraging students to apply clinical and communication skills to the practice of medicine, while nurturing their professional identity development and addressing cross-cutting issues that impact patient care and professional life regardless of specialty. Topics include professional identity formation, wellness, ethics, substance use, and difficult physician-patient relationships.

Block Chair: Esme Finlay, MD

Scholarship is an important component of the curriculum. Each medical student is required to engage in a faculty-mentored scholarly project, as a requirement for graduation. Designed to help students develop practical skills in the scientific method and understanding of the role of research in informing clinical practice, students will develop and complete a scholarly project in an area of interest related to medical science and/or health care. Students will publicly present or publish their results prior to graduation.

Project Directors: Ed Fancovic, MD and Rebecca Hartley, PhD