Medical Student Education
This year marked the end of the sophmore Pathology course taught as a stand-alone course. This course has generally been perceived as one of the best courses of the first two years of medical school. Former students have felt that the course content and organization most contributed to their good performance on the USMLE part I board. In general, improved performance on board scores seems to correlate with changes made to the Pathology course curriculum, format and testing program. Course Directors over the years have won on multiple occasions golden apple teaching awards in large part because students recognize their efforts and contributions to their overall learning experience.
Pathology is now designed to integrate with other curricular areas in the first and second year. Despite following this integrated system based approach, the discipline of Pathology remains a major course in the medical curriculum, providing an overview of human diseases by studying general disease processes and those associated with specific organ systems. Lectures, Class Inclusive Learning Sessions (CILS) and related Student Case Presentations (SCP) sessions are used to elucidate the following fundamental aspects of diseases:
- Etiology, or cause
- Pathogenesis, or the mechanism by which an etiologic agent results in a disease
- Morphology, the study of the structure and form of cells, tissues and organs
- Laboratory medicine, the study of bodily fluids and related substances
- Clinicopathologic correlation, the correlation of morphology and laboratory data with clinical features of disease
Topics are presented to complement content discussed in other courses to reinforce student learning on a topic. For each topic, the training will be within discipline, across disciplines and taught by content experts. While the new format introduces students to multiple clinical concepts, Pathology’s goals and objectives remain the same. These include:
- To develop a comprehension and knowledge of the etiology, pathogenesis, structural and functional manifestations of disease, a vocabulary to communicate this knowledge and the ability to use this knowledge to solve appropriate problems.
- To learn and understand the biologic principles which govern changes in cells and tissues as a response to abnormal stimuli.
- To develop beginning skills in recognition of disease at the gross, microscopic and ultrastructural level.
- To understand the dynamics of disease and to be aware of the natural course of specific disease states and the result of intervention by a physician.
- To develop beginning skills in laboratory test interpretation so as to make judicious and cost-effective use of the clinical laboratory.
- To learn how Pathology as a medical specialty relates and contributes to clinical medicine.
- To develop basic skills of case presentation and use of electronic presentation media.
As Director of the Pathology course, Dr. Keith Stringer has directed the last year of the stand-alone format with success. Now, as Director of Undergraduate Pathology Education, he is actively engaged in preparing for and planning the transition to the new curriculum structure which began last year with the first year students.