Students start the first year of medical school with the Foundations blocks, which continue through mid-April of the first calendar year. Foundations blocks emphasize the basic structure of the human body and basic principles of other medical science disciplines such as gross anatomy, histology, basic principles of biochemistry, genetics, pharmacology and cell physiology. Foundations blocks also include Neuroscience and Introduction to Disease, which cover basic pathophysiology, immunology and bacteriology. In addition to the instruction of these basic medical sciences, students take integrated courses that cover medical humanities, ethics, leadership and other important professional development topics, as well as the Introduction to Clinical Skills course, which includes patient history-taking and doctor-patient communication skills and physical diagnosis through Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE). Further, students are introduced to evidence-based medicine key principles, scholarly work foundations and research principles.

Organ Systems

By mid-April of the first calendar year, students transition into the Organ Systems blocks, which conclude the following winter. The Organ Systems blocks cover normal function, pathophysiology and disease-related aspects of the specific organ systems including the basic therapeutic approach to disease. The disciplines covered in Organ Systems blocks include organ-based physiology, organ system/disease-related biochemistry and genetics, pathology, microbiology, immunology, pharmacology, introductory pediatrics and introductory internal medicine. Students take a summer break after two Organ Systems blocks have been delivered. This break provides opportunities to explore scholarly activities, service learning, and other educational activities. Throughout the Organ Systems blocks, students continue to build skills in evidence-based medicine, scholarly work and research principles.