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University of Chicago (Pritzker School of Medicine)

The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine is one of few medical schools to be situated within a larger Division of the University – The Biological Sciences Division.

The University of Chicago matriculated its first class of medical students in 1927 and continues to serve as a leader in training physicians and scientists. In recognition of the generous support extended to the medical school from the Pritzker family of Chicago, the medical school was renamed the Pritzker School of Medicine in 1968. The great traditions which underlie our school’s history include the presence of a full-time teaching faculty devoted to working with students, a strong emphasis on research and discovery, and a commitment to translating the most recent advances in biomedical science to the bedside.

At the University of Chicago, in an atmosphere of interdisciplinary scholarship and discovery, the Pritzker School of Medicine is dedicated to inspiring diverse students of exceptional promise to become leaders and innovators in science and medicine for the betterment of humanity.

The Pritzker School of Medicine is one of few medical schools to be located physically on its University campus, offering both intellectual and social advantages to students who spend their medical school years at the center of the University. Most importantly the opportunity for interdisciplinary work is outstanding – the law school, the business school, the school of public policy, the humanities division are located within steps of the hospital, providing a rich array of opportunities for our medical students.

Each class consists of 104 students who are taught by the nationally renowned full-time faculty of the University of Chicago. In addition to being outstanding teachers, University of Chicago faculty also lead their respective fields as clinicians and scientists. In fact, in a recent benchmark study conducted by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the University of Chicago ranked 6th in the country in terms of its per capita research funding. The University of Chicago Hospitals also regularly appears on the US News and World Report Honor Roll, a listing of the nation's top 16 hospitals. These are the same faculty who teach our students.

There is no “typical” Pritzker student. Our students come in every variety, bringing diverse intellectual and social contributions. Together, they form the Pritzker community, which is filled with leaders who willingly share their gifts with one another and through that sharing become that community.

The University of Chicago is committed to training future leaders who will contribute broadly to society. This commitment is reflected in the class composition which is highly diverse in racial and ethnic background, geographic origin, age, undergraduate and graduate college and field of study.

The curriculum at the University of Chicago provides a solid foundation in the basic sciences, building on a rich tradition at our institution in developing new knowledge. The relationship of the basic to the clinical sciences is demonstrated to students through innovative courses (such as Clinical Pathophysiology & Therapeutics). Finally, the last component of the curriculum is the clinical experience that students receive. Students begin seeing patients in their first quarter, participate in clinical skills training with standardized patients in the Clinical Performance Center, and are deeply engaged in patient care in the third and fourth year.

While medical students are not required to have their own computers, they have access to computers in the Biological Sciences Learning Center, the Crerar Science Library, and the University Hospitals. A newly established Computer Testing Center for medical students provides a facility for computerized testing, as well as serving as a computer classroom for computer-assisted learning and general computer use.

As part of a comprehensive e-Curriculum Program, students have access to course and clerkship information via the Web. Each course and clerkship has its own web site containing information on such areas as course objectives, schedules, readings, links to on-line text books and journals, and special instructional technology modules. Several preclerkship courses provide extensive use of instructional technology, including Human Morphology, Clinical Pathophysiology, and Neurobiology.

The Clinical Performance Center (CPC) at The University of Chicago is a newly renovated, state-of-the-art teaching laboratory where medical students have an opportunity to practice and gain insight into their skills in clinical medicine. Located two blocks from the Basic Science Learning Center, the CPC is a suite of six fully equipped examination rooms where students and "standardized patients" enact a physician-patient encounter in a real time setting.

Standardized patients are individuals who are carefully trained to give consistent, reliable scores of clinical performance; thus, they are "standardized" in much the same way as a well-constructed written examination is standardized to be reliable and valid. At the University of Chicago, standardized patients are used for a variety of educational an evaluative exercises. They have been used to assess basic history-taking and physical examination skills; to teach the mental status examination, domestic violence counseling, and the male and female genital examination; and to assess the interpersonal skills of entering freshman medical students.

School name:University of ChicagoPritzker School of Medicine
Address:5841 S. Maryland Ave.
Zip & city:IL 60637 Illinois

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Pritzker School of Medicine Medical School Location

Pritzker School of Medicine Courses


* Clinical Skills 1A : is the initial communication course that introduces students to the basics of doctor/patient communication. Lectures on medical interviewing and health literacy, small group meetings with attending physicians and housestaff, and videotaped interactions with standardized patients are included in the course. In addition, basic physical exam skills are introduced. The course meets twice a week for 85 minutes for lectures and arranges small group reviews, patient interactions, and standardized patient practice. The course is assessed by demonstration of skills with a standardized patient.

* Human Morphology I & II : is a two quarter course. Together they provide students with a conceptual foundation of the biological structure and function of the human body at the gross, tissue, cellular, and subcellular levels of organization. In addition, students gain an appreciation of the embryological, historical, and functional components that underlie adult human form, begin to understand principles of body organization, not merely to memorize and Catalogue details of structure, and to acquire a vocabulary for describing and interpreting structural and functional processes of the body. In autumn quarter, this course meets five days per week for 50-minute lectures and two-and-a-half hour lab sessions. In the winter quarter, the course meets three days per week for 50-minute lectures and two-and-a-half hour lab sessions. The exams are both multiple choice and practical by identification of anatomical components.

* Biochemistry and Molecular Biology : has three main goals: to achieve the ability to recall necessary material of biochemistry (facts, structures, mechanisms, etc.) in protein structure and function, energy production and utilization, and intermediary metabolism, to achieve an understanding and be able to find solutions to biochemical problems under unfamiliar circumstances, and to emphasize relationships, precedent, problem-solving (whether quantitative or not), and the importance of developing the logic and intuition to know what is or is not likely to happen, and why. The class meets five days a week for 50-minute lectures, and the exams are in an essay format.

* Cell and Organ Physiology : Cell and Organ Physiology goals are: to provide a general introduction to membrane physiology of mammalian cells as a basis for the understanding of cellular function and its regulation in normal and abnormal tissues and organs and to teach the normal physiology of the human cardiovascular and respiratory systems at the cellular, tissue, organ, and organ systems levels. The primary emphasis on normal function is supplemented by selected didactic examples of how normal function may be changed by disease.
The course meets five times each week for 50-minute sessions. Additionally, students participate in one laboratory exercise per module, and the course assess progress primarily through multiple choice exams.

* The Doctor-Patient Relationship (Medical Ethics) : provides an introduction to the importance of the doctor-patient relationship and to the process of ethical decision-making. The topics of informed consent, assessment of patient competence, truth telling, confidentiality, and end-of-life decisions are examined in several clinical contexts such as acute care, pediatrics, geriatrics, and rehabilitation medicine. The course meets one day per week for an 80-minute lecture/demonstration, followed by 50 minutes of small group case-based discussion. Student evaluation is based on a final essay exam.

* Molecular and Cell Biology : covers gene expression, signal transduction, cell cycle regulation, organization of cytoplasm, membrane traffic, and cell motility. The course meets for three times a week for an 85 minute lecture and has one 50 minute review session each week.

* Organ Physiology and Endocrinology : provides students with a comprehensive understanding of organ physiology relating to the digestive tract, endocrine organs, kidney and reproductive endocrinology. It meets daily for 50-minute sessions using a case-oriented approach to highlight physiological principles and to demonstrate the clinical application of this knowledge. A multiple choice exam is administered after the completion of each segment.

* Social Context of Medicine : meets once a week to discuss issues about the social context that will affect their medical careers. This will include developing a basic understanding of the types of organization in which physicians practice, the effects of race and of class on people's health and on the delivery of medical care, Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurance, managed care, challenges facing hospitals, problems with cost, quality, and access to care in the U.S., possible ways to address these problems. In addition, students are asked to begin to develop a cognitive map of the career possibilities, to think critically, to understand both sides of a controversial issue, and to express thoughts clearly and succinctly in writing. The presentations also cover three major points of view (professional, state, market) which underlie conflicting reform proposals for U.S. health care, and be able to use this conceptual framework to evaluate proposals and discuss other ways in which a health care system may be organized (Canada and Great Britain). Small group discussions and guest presentations supplement the lectures. There are short multiple choice quizzes and a final paper in the course.

* Clinical Skills 1C : Communication continues where autumn quarter's Clinical Skills 1A ended. Students will continue to work on their medical interviewing skills and basic exam skills. They will interview both hospitalized and standardized patients, and will meet with resident preceptors in small groups throughout the quarter. There are also a small number of lectures to attend.

* Neurobiology : meets five days a week. Lectures run for 50-minutes three days per week, and for two hours on the other two days. In addition, there are ten lab and six clinical correlation sessions during the quarter, each lasting about an hour-and-a-half. The specific goals of the course are to help students understand the electrical properties of neurons and the fundamentals of synaptic transmission, learn the anatomical structure of the central nervous system, its development, and its appearance in clinical images, learn the anatomical and physiological features of the major sensory and motor pathways, learn how neurotransmitters are synthesized, packaged, released and how they affect their target tissues. The exams are multiple choice.

* Medical Genetics : introduces medical students to the definition of basic genetic concepts and the role of genes in disease processes and susceptibilities. In addition, students are taught to appreciate the high incidence and broad spectrum of human genetic diseases, to learn the technique and grasp the importance of taking a family history, and to understand the procedures and tools used for diagnosing genetic diseases. The course meets three times per week for 50-minute sessions and includes small group discussion workshops. The exams are multiple choice.

* Nutrition in Health and Disease : The course is an overview of contemporary and clinically relevant nutrition. The topics are those relevant for first year students and explore a variety of basic areas. The basics of nutrition are emphasized and include: Nutritional requirements, macro and micronutrients, nutrition through the life cycle- pregnancy, lactation, childhood nutrition. Nutritional assessment is introduced in a pre-clinical format. Clinically relevant topics are also emphasized especially those that are commonly seen in a busy practice or those associated with major morbidity. The content areas include- obesity, nutrition and coronary heart disease and the important role of nutrition in critical illness. This course meets five days per week for four weeks of the quarter for 50-minute lectures and uses food diaries and multiple choice exams for assessment.

* Epidemiology and Clinical Investigation : meets five days per week for six weeks of the quarter for 50-minute lectures. The goals of the course are to help students to begin to critically appraise of medical literature, apply quantitative data to clinical decisions, understand the implications of epidemiological data for patient care, develop sound judgment about data relevant to clinical care, and to develop an awareness of public health epidemiology. The exams are multiple choice.


* Human Behavior in Health and Illness : This course is designed to give 2nd-year medical students an overview of behavioral science principles that inform medical practice. The emphasis in the course is on normal behavior and the biological, psychological, and social factors that influence it. It is intended to be a big-picture view of a complex field, focusing largely on elements that shape health behaviors in general. In addition, students are taught aspects of behavior that can go awry, leading at times to poor coping with circumstances (including physical illnesses) or even to the onset of mental illnesses. The course should provide enough behavioral science material (psychological models of the mind, behavioral neurobiology, development through life cycle, sleep, sexuality, adaptation to illness, and normal v. psychopathology) to prepare students for the Psychiatry module of Clinical Pathology and Pathophysiology and for their clinical clerkships.
Class meets twice per week for 80-minute sessions. An NBME format examination is administered at the end of the quarter and serves as the final exam.

* Cell Pathology and Immunology : This course provides an introduction to the pathogenesis of human disease from both a mechanistic and research standpoint. The goals of the course are to help students understand the basic mechanism in the pathogenesis of human disease and to learn about basic research investigating human disease. The course meets daily and includes lectures, journal clubs, a clinical pathological correlation (CPC) session and laboratories that address case studies, clinical and biochemical data, and histology. Essay exams are given during the quarter to evaluate student progress.

* Microbiology : provides an an overview of the clinically important micro-organisms and their roles in infectious diseases. The objectives of the course are to discuss mechanism of microbial pathogenicity important in disease production, provide knowledge of the common organisms associated with specific infectious diseases as foundation for system (organ)-based approach to diagnosis, describe the interactions between the clinician and the clinical laboratory that are important for diagnosing infectious diseases.
Lectures are held five days a week for 50-minute sessions. Additionally, students attend weekly laboratory sessions during the quarter. A multiple-choice exams are administered, as well as a final laboratory practical exam.

* Pharmacology : introduces the student to the principles of pharmacology, focusing primarily on basic science, but also providing reference to clinical applications. Course content is intended to provide a comprehensive and integrated overview for the student in preparation for the therapeutics component integrated into Clinical Pathophysiology and Therapeutics (CPP&T). There are also be optional review sessions conducted by the teaching assistants.
Class meets twice a week for a total of three hours per week. The exams are multiple choice.

* Clinical Skills 2A & 2 B : Like CPP&T, Clinical Skills 2A & 2B (Physical Diagnosis) meets for 1.5 quarters. The course introduces students to the technical skills of physical diagnosis (PD). Aspects of the course common to all groups begin with lectures, scheduled Tuesday and Thursday. The need for this to be personalized to each student's level of experience requires small group settings. All students are assigned to fourth year medical students who meet once per week in the University of Chicago Hospitals. Students are required to write up patients seen, usually taking one to three hours to complete. All students also attend additional evening sessions scheduled throughout the two-quarter sequence. These sessions allow small groups to assemble to cover topics like the gynecological exam, the ophthalmologic exam, rheumatology, etc. Workshops on cultural competencies, geriatrics, and advanced communication topics are also included in the course.
Evaluation includes a written review of systems, a complete physical exam on a child, a healthy adult, a standardized patient, and performance of an oral patient presentation.

* Clinical Pathophysiology and Therapeutics I & II : is a comprehensive 1.5 quarter sequence. This course introduces students to the clinical pathophysiology and therapeutic modalities of selected diseases that are linked to the following 10 physiological systems: hematology, pulmonary, renal, cardiovascular, endocrine, ob/gyn, skeletal, gastrointestinal, hepatic, and CNS/neonatal. In addition, a psychopathology module has been integrated into the course. Class meets every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, for seven hours each day. The material is presented as lectures, laboratory exercises, and discussions. The exams are multiple choice.


* Medicine : Students are assigned to General Medicine Inpatient (4-8 weeks), Cardiology Inpatient (2 weeks), Ambulatory Medicine (2 weeks), Hematology-Oncology Inpatient (0-4 weeks).

* Surgery/Anesthesia : During this combined 12 weeks the student will spend four to four and a half weeks on General Surgery rotations (inpatient and outpatient responsibilities), two weeks on a service that has a significant number of patients in the critical care setting, two weeks on the required Anesthesia/Pain Management rotation and two-two and half weeks on a dedicated Ambulatory Surgery Service.

* Pediatrics : One month is spent on an inpatient unit, either at the University of Chicago Children's Hospital or La Rabida Children's Hospital. The students spend one month on an outpatient rotation, and during this month they rotate through the newborn nursery. Each student spends one half-day per week in a sub-specialty clinic during their inpatient and outpatient rotations.

* Obstetrics and Gynecology : Students spend one quarter of their time in Labor and Delivery, one quarter in Antepartum/Postpartum, one quarter in Gynecology, and one quarter in either Gynecology-Oncology or Reproductive Endocrinology/Infertility.

* Psychiatry : At all training sites, students will have inpatient, outpatient, and emergency room experiences, and in some instances, psychiatric consultation-liaison experience.

* Family Medicine : Each student spends half of his/her clerkship time at the MacNeal Family Practice Residency Program’s Family Practice Center seeing patients with faculty or senior residents. The other part of the clerkship is spent at the private practice of a family physician in the surrounding MacNeal area. The Residency Program Family Practice Center patient population includes a greater volume of prenatal care, gynecology and pediatric issues, whereas the private practice offices tend to have a greater population of geriatric patients.


* Emergency Medicine : Students are scheduled for 8 shifts in the Emergency Department during the two-week rotation. Students have the option of substituting a shift in the Emergency Department for one of the following:
1. University of Chicago Aeromedical transport
(accompany resident during transport of patients on
the helicopter);
2. Emergency Medical Service/Prehospital transport
(ride along with an ambulance team);
3. Observation shift at either Lutheran General
Hospital or Mt. Sinai Hospital Emergency
Departments; or
4. Pediatric Emergency Department shift

* Neurology : Students spend approximately half of the two week clerkship in the inpatient services including the Neuro-ICU, while the remaining time is spent in the Neurology clinic at Center for Advanced Medicine, the University of Chicago Hospital’s main outpatient site.

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