The Practice and Science of Medicine
Throughout the four years, the curriculum combines the practice and science of medicine. Patient contact begins on the first day of the first year and increases throughout the four years. The curriculum is a thoughtful balance of lectures, problem-based small-group courses, hands-on laboratories, and hospital and community-based clinical experiences. At the center of the curriculum is the patient, the science of medicine, and the physician’s role in improving the health of individuals and communities. Students adapt the curriculum to their own learning styles. Some students prefer to learn from lectures; some in small group problem solving formats; others from self-study of texts and computer materials or from notes provided by faculty.
Integrated Clinical Sciences
The first year begins with an innovative course entitled, “Cells to Society,” which is designed to present first year students with an integrative approach to clinical medicine. “Cells to Society” is intended to focus on and connect the patient to all other aspects of the Integrated Clinical Sciences curriculum. Another goal of the course is to demonstrate to students how the care of the patient raises questions in multiple domains in addition to clinical medicine. The three-day course is structured around one disease process and guides first years in investigating the disease’s cellular and societal dimensions. This is followed by Molecular and Cellular Medicine in parallel and integrated with Clinical Performance Development and Social Issues in Medicine. These courses include foundational elements of human behavior, the doctor/patient relationship, decision sciences, principles of biochemistry, genetics, histology, physiology, anatomy, immunology, general pathology, general pharmacology, and epidemiology and is completed by winter of the first year. Next is Microbes: The Essentials and then a series of eight Systems: Musculoskeletal-Integument; Mind, Brain and Behavior; Gastrointestinal; Cardiovascular; Pulmonary; Renal; Endocrine/Reproductive, and Hematology. Each system integrates core science, e.g. anatomy, histology, physiology, pharmacology, and pathology with clinical skills ranging from physical examination to addressing cultural and social issues, including public health policy. The Clinical Performance Development sessions continue in parallel and integrated with the Systems.
The clerkship year (which begins in the spring of the second year) is devoted to clinical training. Students take clerkships in medicine, surgery, pediatrics, family medicine, psychiatry, obstetrics and gynecology, neurology, perioperative and acute care, and geriatrics. There is extensive direct contact with patients, and students work with a well-balanced patient population, which includes primary, secondary, and tertiary care. Teaching is related to the patient on rounds and in small tutorial seminars, lectures and group discussions. Emphasis is given to the principles of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and the continuing integration of clinical medicine with medical sciences and the psychological factors that influence health. Students work in small groups and rotate among many clinical services, gaining practical experience under supervision in the wards and outpatient clinics of the University of Virginia hospitals, the Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Salem, the Western State Hospital, and INOVA Fairfax Hospital in Northern Virginia. The teaching programs at the affiliated hospitals allow students to observe the practice of medicine in multiple settings and gain exposure to a somewhat different spectrum of illnesses than that seen at the University of Virginia. During their clerkships, all students spend an average of 20 weeks away from Charlottesville in affiliated clerkship locations.
Advanced Clinical Training
Following the clerkships, students complete selectives tailored to their needs and pursue their own interests in the electives. Elective programs include a wide variety of programs at UVA and in other domestic and foreign settings. Under the guidance of a faculty advisor, students choose clinical rotations, basic science and humanities courses and research activities. Medical students are required to complete at least one Advanced Clinical Elective after the clerkships. There is a continuum of the science, clinical skills, and professionalism throughout the four-year curriculum. The student is presented within and across each period with multiple examples of knowledge, skills, professionalism, and decision-making.
For more information, see the Curriculum web site: www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/internet/med-curriculum/nextgeneration/advancingcurriculum.cfm
Medical Student Research Programs
Medical students are encouraged to participate in the research programs of the School of Medicine. There is an active summer research program following the first year of medical school, and further research activities are available thereafter during elective periods.
Medical students may also elect to extend their medical education to include a year of basic science or clinical research without paying additional tuition. Students can earn “distinction” in research by submitting a research proposal outlining the hypothesis for the project, methods, and a time schedule; having it approved by a research supervisory committee; and presenting the results in the format of a scientific paper.
Time Limit for Completion of the M.D. Degree
Students must complete the requirements for the M.D. degree within six years of matriculation in the School of Medicine. Special time arrangements are available to those in the dual M.D. - Ph.D. program.
Dual Degree Programs
M.D.-Ph.D. (NIH Medical Scientist Training)
The goal of the MST program is to provide students with the highest quality training to conduct biomedical research as well as a firm grounding in clinical medicine. Ph.D. training may be done in one of our Basic Science Departments including Cell Biology, Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics, Biology, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Microbiology, Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics, and Pharmacology. We also offer a wide variety of Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs in the areas of Immunology, Cardiovascular Physiology, Cell and Molecular Biology, Neuroscience, Biophysics, Molecular Pharmacology, Molecular Medicine, Chemical Engineering, Cancer, and Infectious Diseases. A major emphasis of the program is to train physician-scientists who will lead the biomedical research community in efforts to discover the fundamental basis of human disease and to develop innovative new therapies for their treatment. Students in the dual M.D., - Ph.D. degree program must complete the requirements for both degrees within seven years of matriculation in the School of Medicine. Those who are making progress toward graduation but who will exceed the seven-year limit may apply for one-year extensions. More than one extension may be granted. For more information see www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/internet/mstp.
M.D. - M.P.H. Public Health
The dual M.D.-M.P.H. is designed to provide graduate professional training in quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, translational and community-based research, and community engagement strategies to improve the health of individuals and populations. The program focuses on the competencies professionals need to address population health and health care delivery issues and includes a range of interdisciplinary courses on social behavioral health, health policy, program planning and evaluation, and environmental health, as well as epidemiology and biostatistics. Medical Students who decide to pursue the M.P.H. should expect to begin their M.P.H. courses after completing the core clinical clerkships and to extend their education by one year. The dual degree program must be completed within 6 years of matriculation in the School of Medicine. For more information, see http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/internet/phs/mph/jointmdmph.cfm.
M.D. - M.B.A.
The School of Medicine and the Darden School of Business offers a dual degree program in which a student may obtain both the M.D. and the M.B.A. degrees in 5 years. The student is obligated to secure separate admission to both schools. Once admitted to the School of Medicine, the student may take application to the Program Committee for admission to the dual degree program. Students in the dual degree begin their M.B.A. curriculum after completing the first three years of the medical curriculum. The total duration is 5 years. For more information, see http://www.darden.virginia.edu/html/standard.aspx?menu_id=72&styleid=2&id=816#MBA/MD