Minutes 02/23/05

Minutes 02/23/05

University of Virginia School of Medicine
Principles of Medicine Committee

This meeting was devoted entirely to a discussion of the new medical curriculum which will be introduced in fall 2005 starting with the Class of 2009.

Bob Bloodgood made a Powerpoint presentation summarizing the main changes that will be occurring in the first two years of the medical curriculum:

Year 1 changes (Foundations of Medicine):

  1. Year starts earlier (Aug 8th) and ends later (June 10); more vacation time has been added (6+ days)
  2. August 8-12  Orientation and Cells to Society-An Introduction  (Diabetes will again be the theme)
  3. August 15-November 18th (traditional 1st semester courses)   [loss of 2 weeks of instructional time]
  4. Only 2 exam periods for Gross, Biochemistry and CTS/Physiology.  These courses are encouraged to make more use of quizzes.
  5. Addition of Fall break after 1st exam period (Friday afternoon Sep 30th through Monday, Oct 3rd)
  6. Continue to have full week for Thanksgiving break
  7. 2nd semester courses start during 3 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas (but only for Physiology/CTS, Medical and Molecular Genetics, PoM1)
  8. New concept of teaching all of Medical and Molecular Genetics (MMG) in a 3 week window period from Thanksgiving to Christmas.  This allows medical students to focus on less courses at one time
  9. Less exams just before Christmas (only the MMG exam and a Physiology/CTS quiz)
  10. Former Spring semester continues January 2 for Physiology/CTS and PoM1 and begins for Neuroscience and Human Behavior - runs through April 22nd.  This period has 2 exam periods (reduction from current 3), each followed by a full week of vacation.
  11. After second Spring week of vacation, former 2nd year material begins.  This runs from May 1 - June 10 (6 weeks): Pathology, Pharmacology and PoM1
  12. Students have a 9 week summer break (reduced from 12 weeks); this may impact on the MSTP lab rotations and on the level of participation of medical students in the summer medical student research program.
  13. An Exploratory will be introduced in the first year; this will involve one afternoon per week.  Initially, it will focus on community outreach activities.

Year 2 Changes (Core Principles):

  1. The former 2nd year material started in a six week block in the Spring of Year 1 (May 1-June10)
  2. After 9 week summer break, the 2nd year class starts on August 14th.  The 2nd year schedule begins 1 week earlier and ends 8 weeks earlier
  3. From August 14 to December 16, students have: Pathology, Pharmacology, Microbiology, Intro to Psychiatry, PoM 2). Introduction to Psychiatric Medicine has been moved from 2nd semester to 1st semester.
  4. From January 8 to March 17, students study Pathology, Pharmacology, Microbiology, Epidemiology and PoM2.  Clinical Epidemiology has been moved from 1st semester to  2nd semester.  This course work ends approximately 8 weeks earlier than previously.
  5. From March 19-April 28: vacation and USMLE- Part 1
  6. From May 1-5 transition course   (Note difference - transition course had previously come out of the prior 6 week period for vacation and USMLE)
  7. On May 7, core clerkships begin (versus about June 28th previously)
  8. The 2nd year course directors have taken the new curriculum as an opportunity to further integrate the curriculum across courses.
  9. Examples of the increased integration of the 2nd year curriculum:

 A.  Hematology in the Pathology course has been aligned with Oncology in the PoM2 course
B.  Endocrine, pediatrics and Ob/Gyn in PoM2 has been aligned with Endocrine portion of Pathology and the endocrine portion of Pharmacology into a unit at the end of Year
C. Parasitology has been moved to January of Year 2 to align with Infectious Diseases in PoM2 as well as the appropriate parts of Microbiology and Pharmacology.
D.  Neuropathology, Psychiatric Medicine and the portion of Pharmacology covering psychoactive drugs has been aligned in the Fall of Year2.

Additional Changes Related to the Basic Sciences:

In the 3rd Year, Basic Science for Careers will be introduced after the core clerkship period.  This new course will be organized into thematic groups related to career choices (anticipated residency) of the students.  Basic Science for Careers will involve a collaboration between clinical and basic science faculty. This course will allow teaching of basic science in clinical context at a time when the students are highly motivated to learn the science underlying their residency of choice.

Changes in the Medical Curriculum That Will Impact on the MSTP (MD-PhD) program:

  1. Some scheduling conflicts between graduate courses and medical courses that are taken by MSTP students have occurred in the first year, especially in the period between Thanksgiving and Winter Break.  Some of these are being addressed by moving the graduate Cell course to the afternoons (Tues, Wed, Fri 1:30-3:00)
  2. The shortened summer between the 1st and 2nd years may affect MSTP rotations.
  3. The first two years of the curriculum will be ending at least 8 weeks earlier which will allow MSTP students to enter into the full-time graduate student portion of their program earlier.

A vigorous discussion about the new medical curriculum ensued.  Some of the issues that came up included:

  1. There was discussion about whether the Exploratory should start during the first semester of Year 1 or be delayed until the 2nd semester of the first year.  There was considerable sentiment to delay the start of the Exploratory until semester 2 because the first semester involves so many transitions for the new medical students and because Gross Anatomy uses one afternoon per week in the first semester (but not during the 2nd semester).  With the one afternoon per week for PoM1, the Exploratory would make 3 afternoons per week of structured activities.  One compromise would be to start the Exploratory part way through the 1st semester or to make it optional in the 1st semester.  The question arose as whether the MSTP students will be required to take the Exploratory.

  2. There was a discussion about the increased use of quizzes during the 1st year because of the reduced number of exams.  Medical students reps urged that we not overdo quizzes or students will be in test preparation mode constantly.  However, one of the medical students on the committee pointed out that quizzes really help students keep up with the material.

  3. In the new curriculum, the last topic presented in the Physiology/CTS course is endocrine.  The new 6 week block of formerly 2nd year material that has been moved to the end of the first year will also focus on endocrine.  It was suggested that this is an opportunity for further integration of the curriculum if the endocrine material in Physiology/CTS course could be integrated with the endocrine unit being created from what was formerly 2nd year material.

The next meeting of the Principles of Medicine committee will be held on March 9, 2005.

Bob Bloodgood