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Drexel University (College of Medicine)

Drexel University College of Medicine, a new name just a few years ago, is the consolidation of two venerable medical schools with rich and intertwined histories: Hahnemann Medical College and Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. Established in 1848 and 1850, respectively, they were two of the earliest medical colleges in the United States, and Woman’s was the very first medical school for women in the nation.

Today, with over 1,000 medical students, Drexel University College of Medicine (DUCOM) is the largest private medical school in the country. Biomedical graduate students number more than 500. There are some 550 residents, 600 clinical and basic science faculty, and over 1,700 affiliate and volunteer faculty.

The College of Medicine's main campus, Queen Lane, is in a suburban-like setting in the East Falls section of Philadelphia. Additional facilities are located at the Center City campus, which includes Hahnemann University Hospital. Our Pediatrics Department is at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, and Psychiatry is based at Friends Hospital. Students can receive clinical education at 25 affiliated hospitals and ambulatory sites chosen for commitment to teaching as well as medical excellence.

DUCOM's clinical practice, Drexel University Physicians®, is a patient-focused practice emphasizing quality, innovation and community service, and enhanced by physician involvement in the research and educational programs.

The College has participated in pioneering clinical trials involving the world's first implantable artificial heart, established a major regional center for spinal cord research, and founded one of the leading centers for malaria study in the nation. Collaborative projects leveraging Drexel University’s technological expertise push the frontiers of nanomedicine and neuroengineering.

Drexel University College of Medicine houses one of just 21 National Centers of Excellence in Women’s Health designated by the Department of Health & Human Services. It has developed the largest HIV/AIDS primary care practice in the Mid-Atlantic region. Faculty clinicians are highly respected in numerous other specialties, including pain management, sports medicine and toxicology.

The College of Medicine trains students to become knowledgeable, caring, and compassionate physicians with all the tools necessary for a lifetime of learning. In today’s constantly evolving profession of medicine, this type of training is critical. The college’s programs in Medical Humanities and Women’s Health Education help students pursue special goals.

Through the Medical Humanities program, students learn to frame issues in patient care within a cultural, social and historical perspective. They also learn to recognize ethical issues, analyze them, and choose appropriate courses of action.

Faculty members from the humanities program are involved in several medical school courses. Required coursework in bioethics and electives such as Doctor-Patient Communication and Death and Dying are available, as is the innovative Humanities Scholar Program, which lets students design and complete a four-year individualized course of study. A broad range of elective humanities courses is also offered to all students.

Students in their first two years of medical school at Drexel University College of Medicine learn in a state-of-the-art facility designed for the purpose of teaching basic sciences and clinical skills. For instance, students gain very early exposure to clinical skills in the Barbara E. Chick, M.D. ’59, Clinical Education and Assessment Center (CEAC), where students see standardized patients in examining rooms that are designed to resemble a primary care physician’s office, with the added ability to video tape the exchange.

College of Medicine faculty members have been leaders in developing interactive computer-based learning tools, ranging from biochemical exercises to simulated patients presenting ethical dilemmas. For example, computer simulations of the autonomic nervous system give a graphic model for experimentation in the Pharmacology Laboratory.

The Multidisciplinary Laboratory offers students the opportunity to view slides via a microscope and flat panel monitor at their lab tables. Student laptops connect to the wireless network and can be attached to the flat panel LCD monitors for group viewing. Additionally, the lab is equipped with networked computers, computer projectors, laserdisc players and VCRs. This state-of-the-art laboratory enhances team-based learning for both IFM and PIL students.

Drexel is the first medical college in the nation to offer wireless Internet access from anywhere on campus and requires entering students to own a laptop. Additionally, students in their clinical years use handheld computers to record patient encounters and to log procedures.

Medical School can be a daunting experience. The College of Medicine takes a proactive stance to ease the way for students, offering academic and personal counseling as well as a peer mentoring program.

Career counseling is available to medical students at their individual request and through internal, international student groups.

In the third year, students select a career educational Pathway. The specific discipline-based Pathway curricula have been carefully developed to supplement the career goals of the students while assuring a comprehensive general professional education. Each Pathway allows the student to balance the structure and flexibility of his/her learning needs, prepares the student to enter postgraduate training with confidence, and maximizes the guidance and counseling from preceptions. The focus of group meetings shifts to career planning. A clinical faculty member who shares the affinity interest joins the group, helping individuals and the group prepare for their third year. In the third year, faculty advisors help students plan for their fourth-year pathway program. In the fourth year, students seek advice from specific departmental pathway advisors, who help them plan their course selection, choose a career, and apply for residency.

Students are well represented through elected class officers, representatives to student organizations, and student members of medical school committees. Student government leaders meet regularly with the Dean's Office staff to address student concerns. National organizations, such as the American Medical Student Association, the American Medical Women's Association, and the Student National Medical Association have chapters on campus. The College of Medicine sends student representatives to meetings of the student division of the Association of American Medical Colleges, where they can exchange information with peers from medical schools around the nation.

With its dedication to academic and clinical excellence, Drexel University College of Medicine has earned national recognition as an institution that provides innovation in medical education. Medical students are trained to consider each patient’s case and needs in a comprehensive integrated manner, taking into account many more factors than the presenting physiological condition. The medical college is dedicated to preparing “Physician Healers” – doctors who practice the art, science and skill of medicine.

Recognizing that students have different learning styles, students choose between two innovative academic curricula for their first two years of study. Both options focus on professional medical education, preparing students to pursue a career as either a generalist or specialist. Both stress problem solving, lifelong learning skills and the coordinated teaching of basic science with clinical medicine.

Both curricular tracks give early exposure to clinical skills training by using standardized patients to help students learn the art and skill of taking histories, counseling and educating patients, and performing physical exams.

School name:Drexel UniversityCollege of Medicine
Address:2900 W. Queen Lane
Zip & city:PA 19129 Pennsylvania

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Allows first-year students to immediately begin confronting clinical issues. Clinical symptoms, symptom groups and cases provide the framework for an interdisciplinary presentation of curriculum content. Using symptom-based modules of varying length, basic science and clinical faculty present information from the biomedical, psychosocial and clinical sciences, including clinical skills, in a lecture-based and hands-on format.

Each basic science discipline teaches the material needed to meet its overall learning objectives in an order of presentation that best facilitates a student's grasp of concept and content. Discipline-specific and integrated lectures, labs, small-group sessions with both basic science professors and clinicians, and community-based clinical experiences are an integral part of the curriculum.


* Behavioral Science : Covers the following concepts: the stigma associated with mental illness and the field of psychiatry; the value and need for both evidence-based and anecdotal data; problems in defining psychological normality; problems in labeling psychiatric disorders, and an introduction to a few elementary clinically descriptive terms.

* Community Educational Experience : The CEE Course is designed to provide a practice experience in the community with the goals of providing a service and learning how community factors impact on health and the delivery of health care. To be fully understood the experience should be seen as analogous to an experience in a doctor's office or in the hospital. We spend time with physicians to learn the science and art of medicine. Similarly, the experience in the community provides an opportunity to observe some of the complex psycho-socioeconomic issues that impact a patient's health and the delivery of health care in the Philadelphia Community.

* Gross Anatomy : Basic anatomy of the spinal cord and spinal nerves. Description of the roots and rami of the spinal nerve, and their relationship to the intervertebral foramen. The distribution of dorsal and ventral primary rami and the formation of nerve plexuses.

* Introduction to Ambulatory Care

* Medical Biochemistry : Water as a biological solvent, acid-base chemistry (pH, pK, Henderson-Hasselbalch equation),equilibrium (Gibbs free energy, coupled reactions, K), kinetics (activation energy, catalysts). Introdution to nucleic acids; DNA structure, DNA-binding proteins, characteristics of DNA, structure of chromosomes, RNA structure and function.

* Medical Genetics : The biochemical components of chromatin, organization into chromosomes in humans, technical aspects of cytogenetics, and the structure and classification of human metaphase chromosomes.

* Medical Immunology

* Medical Physiology : Structure and function relations, regulation of internal environments, positive and negative feedback, biological control systems, adaptation, and homeostasis.

* Microanatomy : Fundamentals of light and electron microscopy including parts of a microscope and their function, types of light microscopes and their specialized uses, magnification vs. resolution, specimen preparation, stains and their specialized techniques (enzyme histochemistry, radioautography), transmission vs. scanning electron microscopy, ultrastructural identification of organelles and review of their function.

* Neurosciences

* Nutrition : Introduction to resources for learning nutrition. The nature of nutrition as a science, historical background, essentiality of nutrients, strategies for determining dietary requirements for populations.

* Physician & Patient : Approach to women's health throughout basic and clinical sciences. Recognition of sex and gender differences in health and illness. Relevance of women's health knowledge in the clinical encounter. Critical analysis of the existing literature and applicability to diverse populations. Identification of women's health resources.


* Bioethics

* Community and Preventive Medicine : Demographic changes in US society will be discussed with the impact on medical practice in the future and financial implications. Preventive medicine and its significance in health maintenance, disease management, cost-control and physician payment will be emphasized.

* Health Care Policy and Financing

* Introduction to Ambulatory Care : Review the immunology of inflammation. In particular, the role of neutrophils is addressed with a detailed discussion of adhesion, chemotaxis, recognition, phagocytosis, and intracellular destruction.

* Introduction to Clinical Medicine : Topic of chest pain as a symptom is introduced. Differential diagnosis of cardiac and noncardiac causes of chest pain. Characteristics of ischemic cardiac pain in detail. Distinctions between stable angina, unstable angina, and acute myocardial infarction are explained.

* Medical Microbiology : Perspective on the varied ways microorganisms cause disease, using vaccines to illustrate how knowledge of microbial pathogenesis is necessary for designing strategies of prevention and treatment.

* Medical Pharmacology : The pharmacokinetics and the metabolism of drugs are discussed. This includes the principles of pharmacokinetics, absorption, bioavailability, distribution, biotransformation, and elimination/excretion.

* Pathology & Laboratory Medicine : Who gets autopsied and where; hospital deaths versus forensic cases; the obtaining of consent; how to fill out a death certificate; contributions the autopsy has made to medicine. Also, students find out how they can make arrangements to get to see an autopsy.

* Psychopathology


Students who choose the Program for Integrated Learning (PIL), a problem-based curriculum, learn primarily in small groups which are supervised and facilitated by faculty. There are seven 10-week blocks over the first two years. Each block contains 10 case studies, detailing real patient issues relating to the topics of the block. The cases serve as the stimulus and context for students to search out the information they need to understand, diagnose, and treat clinical problems. Developing the information they need to learn is crucial to the PIL approach. Sharing information, concept mapping, evaluating and giving and receiving feedback are essential facets of the curriculum. Laboratories and lectures complement the case studies.


* Anatomy
* Behavioral Science
* Womens Health
* Case resources


* Pathology
* Pathophysiology
* Pharmacology
* Psychopathology
* Patient as a Person
* Microbiology
* Behavioral Science


The third year is devoted to required clinical clerkship rotations in medicine, family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry, and surgery. The clerkships all embody the following principles:

* Common curricular objectives at all sites
* Students spend 30% of their clinical time in expanded ambulatory care experiences
* Each clerkship incorporates the concept of interdisciplinary teaching, with representatives of other departments or service areas
* Each clerkship integrates the teaching of basic sciences into clinical material

All third year clerkships take place in Drexel’s academic campuses. Students’ assignments for the third year are based on the results of a lottery system.


* Family Medicine : Family Medicine is a required third-year clerkship. Students rotate in six-week cycles to gain experience in this ambulatory-based primary care rotation.
The clinical sites for the clerkship consist of a network of outpatient family medicine practices, associated with family medicine residency programs. Each site that accepts students must meet standard criteria and participate in an orientation session reviewing the Drexel University College of Medicine Family Medicine clerkship curriculum. The faculty monitors sites for quality and for success in achieving the clerkship's goals. Students have the opportunity to focus on common ambulatory problems and the integration of the biophychosocial model in the delivery of primary care as well as exploring the role of the family physician. Assignments are integrated to assist students in applying knowledge within the clinical setting as well as informatics technology in addressing clinical problems.

* Medicine : The Medicine Clerkship is the educational experience during which students are expected to gain the basic knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to care for adult patients with medical disorders. Traditionally, this has been hospital based and geared to the diagnosis and management of acutely ill inpatients.
The striking changes in our new health care environment, marked by the ever-increasing proportion of care being delivered in the ambulatory setting and by the high demand for generalist physicians, has led to a renewed study of the medicine clerkship in all medical schools and the recognition that much change is necessary.
The collaborative efforts of the Society of General Internal Medicine and the Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine have provided a curricular model which places renewed emphasis on basic generalist competencies and on ambulatory as well as inpatient learning experiences.
Drexel University College of Medicine has adopted this clerkship model with modifications. The clerkship will focus on those basic competencies of general internal medicine we believe should be mastered by third year medical students. One third of the clerkship will be devoted to the study of patients in the ambulatory setting.

* Obstetrics and Gynecology : The third-year clinical clerkship in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Drexel University College of Medicine is a comprehensive six-week rotation which introduces and familiarizes the third year medical student with issues concerning womens reproductive health. Because of the broad-based nature of this field, the clerkship allows the medical student to be exposed to a variety of clinical areas, including ambulatory medicine, inpatient care, surgery, critical care medicine, preventive health and care of chronic illnesses.

* Pediatrics : Pediatrics is a required third-year clerkship which is six weeks in length. There are seven sites at this time: Hahnemann University Hospital and St. Christopher's Hospital for Children (both hospitals considered one site); Allegheny General Hospital; Capital Health System; Lehigh Valley Hospital; Monmouth Medical Center, Atlantic Health System - Morristown Memorial Hospital and Saint Peter's University Hospital.. Students will experience inpatient pediatrics, ambulatory pediatrics, nursery, and community pediatrics.

* Psychiatry

* Surgery : The overall purpose of the Core Third-Year Clerkship in Surgery is to provide the students with appropriate educational opportunities and train them to become well-rounded professionals, whether their individual career choices involve the generalist or specialty disciplines. To prepare students to enter clinical practice as well-prepared practitioners, the clerkship encompasses topics important in the training of all physicians, and includes experiences that parallel clinical practice in the current environment of health care delivery.


The fourth-year curriculum is structured in the form of “pathways” – courses that give students a well-rounded educational experience with some focus on potential careers. Students can choose a discipline-specific or generalist pathway. All students have a pathway advisor. The pathway system is structured so that students take both required courses and electives. The required courses include a sub internship in internal medicine, a clerkship in neurology and an additional course specific to the pathway chosen. Students also choose six elective courses, in close consultation with their pathway advisor.

Fourth-year students complete their required courses at Drexel’s academic campuses. However, pathway advisors usually advise their students to select electives outside the Drexel system. Additionally, opportunities exist for fourth-year electives at international sites.


* Subinternship in Medicine : The subinternship in Medicine provides a structured clinical experience in the broad field of internal medicine and those specialty areas necessary for the care of the medical patient. It is designed to be a well supervised educational experience that will serve to improve and build upon those cognitive and technical clinical skills already attained during the junior medicine clerkship. Through the subintern- ship, the student will have the proper environment in which to learn the clinical skills and attitudes essential to the practice of internal medicine and the delivery of the highest quality patient care. The subintern will fulfill clinical and academic responsibilities as an integral team member of an inpatient medical service.

* Neurology.
* Course pathway.
* Electives.

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