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University of Colorado (School of Medicine)

The University of Colorado School of Medicine is the only medical school for 500 miles in any direction. Over 1,200 faculty in 24 departments working in dozens of centers and institutes take seriously our mission of education, research, clinical care, and community service. This message will touch some highlights of our efforts, but we would urge you to visit the campus to appreciate fully what goes on here.

While we do a great deal of research and clinical care, the primary reason for the existence of this school is education. Each year, 132 medical, 20 Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant, and 62 physical therapy students come to the campus to begin their courses of study. They are joined by another 1,400 students in the Schools of Nursing, Dentistry, and Pharmacy, as well as master’s and doctoral students in the Graduate School. Information on the allied health education programs in the school is available from these programs; this message summarizes the program leading to the MD degree.

Medicine as a field is changing, and with it so is our curriculum. Our Foundations of Doctoring course, which began in the fall of 1994, meets for one-half day per week for at least the first three years of medical school. Students spend most of these half-days in the offices or clinics of primary care physicians, following families and learning a significant part of the basics of medicine.

All students should benefit from this educational experience since the longitudinal nature of the course permits a better understanding of chronic disease process, death and dying and their impacts on families, growth and development and a host of psychosocial influences on health and disease.

Our educational program is strong and difficult. However, nearly all our students complete the course of study leading to a degree. Most place in their top choices for internship and residency when they move on to the next phase of medical education.

Research at the school is responsible for a significant part of our funding (about $200 million in Fiscal Year 2001-2002). Students are encouraged to participate in research; opportunities are available during the summers and throughout the school year. Annually, many students submit abstracts to regional and national research meetings and are selected to present and publish their work.

Major research programs at the school include those in basic sciences, molecular biology, molecular structure, genetics, and a variety of clinical areas as well, such as cancer, heart disease, AIDS, diabetes, and pulmonary diseases. The school has pioneered in transplantation, and recognition of child abuse and neglect as an entity, as well as research in alternative forms of health professional education. Adult and Pediatric Clinical Research Centers have been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for more than three decades, and research programs in Native American mental health and alcohol and substance abuse, among many others, have developed national and international reputations.

Clinical care is provided by several hundred full-time faculty in 18 clinical departments. The primary hospital affiliates of the school are University of Colorado Hospital, Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Denver Health, The Children’s Hospital, and the National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine.

Other clinical rotations are available at many of the community hospitals through the Colorado Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) System, as well as ambulatory clinical rotations with many of the more than 2,500 volunteer clinical faculty of the school who practice throughout the Denver metropolitan area, the rest of Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region.

Many of these faculty are part of networks of health care professionals (e.g., Denver Health, Kaiser-Permanente Health Plan, community health centers, rural health clinics) who look to the school for clinical consultation and high-end tertiary care.

The community service mission of the school is taken seriously. It includes local, statewide, regional, national, and international activities that are one in collaboration with governmental health and human services agencies, professional associations, and non-profit organizations. We are proud of receiving the national Outstanding Community Service Award in 2000. Opportunities for students to work on some of these projects, such as the Stout Street Clinic, which provides care to the homeless in Denver, Camp Quality (a summer camp for children with cancer) and Warren Village Pediatric Clinic, are encouraged. There are also service links to elementary, middle, and secondary school programs in the area, giving the school opportunities to encourage the next generation of physicians and scientists to form and go for their dreams.

It is clearly an impossible task to provide in this overview a true picture of a school as large and as complex as this one. In general, however, faculty, students, and staff work hard, enjoy their work, and thrive in this environment. Most of one’s success in medicine or any field comes from a combination of good genetic material, motivation, and perseverance, and the support of a positive, nurturing environment.

The University of Colorado School of Medicine believes that diversity is a value that is central to its educational, research, service and health care missions. Therefore, the SOM is committed to recruiting and supporting a diverse student body, faculty and administrative staff. The SOM adopts a definition of diversity that embraces race, ethnicity, gender, religion, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation and disability. The definition of diversity also includes life experiences, record of service and employment and other talents and personal attributes that can enhance the scholarly and learning environment.

The SOM shall strive to admit qualified students and appoint qualified residents, fellows, faculty, staff and administrators who represent diversity. The SOM also shall develop programs that are designed to: Promote the academic advancement and success of minority students, house officers and faculty; enhance cultural and diversity instruction throughout the curriculum; break down racial and ethnic stereotypes and promote cross-cultural understanding; and promote unexplored research agendas and new areas of scholarship. The SOM's diversity programs also seek to enhance diversity and cultural competency in the health care workforce, improve access to health care for poor, minority and under-served populations and, ultimately, eliminate racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in health and health services.

The SOM will work with all departments and programs within the SOM, and with other University of Colorado campuses and their leaders, to achieve the goals outlined above and to promote a culture of inclusiveness, respect, communication and understanding. The SOM will support the goals of the University's Vision 2010, that seek to develop a University culture in which diversity and academic excellence are seen as inter-dependent.

The curriculum is designed to provide the scientific and clinical background to prepare graduates for the practice of medicine. Most of the basic science courses are taught during the first two phases. Students attend clerkships during the third and fourth phases. The third phase includes the core clerkships, which can be taken in any order, and the fourth phase consists almost entirely of electives. As part of the School's commitment to produce more generalists, a 3-year course is integrated into the required medical school curriculum. The course, entitled Foundations of Doctoring, will place students with practicing generalist physicians one-half day each week to see patients over time, learn interviewing and diagnostic skills, and experience primary care practice.

School name:University of ColoradoSchool of Medicine
Address:4200 E 9Th Ave.
Zip & city:CO 80262 Colorado

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School of Medicine Medical School Location

School of Medicine Courses


* Foundations of Doctoring I : The course is designed to expose students to basic clinical skills necessary for physicians. The course includes a weekly preceptorship along with instruction in physical exam, communication skills and professionalism.

* Human Body : This course covers the anatomy and embryology of the back, extremities, trunk, head and neck. Students will dissect human cadavers and study computer generated cross-sections and radiological images. Clinical case discussions will be integrated with physical exam material.

* Molecules to Medicine : Molecules to medicine is an integrated approach to cell biology, biochemistry, molecular biology and human genetics presented in a context that emphasizes clinical issues.

* Basic Cardiac Life Support : Course will be taught, utilizing a lecture, demonstrations on mannequins and a practice session. Course conducted on a Saturday in fall. Students read required text prior to course, pass a written examination, demonstrate near perfect performance skills essential to BCLS.

* Blood and Lymph : Blood and Lymph covers the basic and clinical concepts underlying immunology, hematology, rheumatology, and malignancies of the blood. Histology, genetics, biochemistry, and ethical issues are integrated into the course concepts. Contact hours are divided equally between lecture and discussion groups.

* Disease and Defense : Course material covers principles of biometrics, pharmacology, pathology and infectious disease. Topics include mechanisms of tissue damage and repair. Dermatology is presented as an “Organ System”, including structural and function, pathology, pathophysiology and pharmacology.

* Cardiovascular/Pulmonary/Renal : Course is an interdisciplinary approach to the cardiovascular, pulmonary, and renal systems, including anatomy, histology, physiology, pathophysiology, pathology, pharmacology, and development. Emphasis is on how the major organs work together to regulate blood pressure and fluid, electrolyte, and acid-base balance.

* Ethics in the Health Professions I : Required two-part course in ethics taught with dental, medical, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy and physician assistant students. This course includes basic knowledge and skills in ethical theory and reasoning, professional ethics, and inter-professional approaches to health care decision making.


* Foundations of Doctoring II : This course is the second year of the longitudinal Foundations curriculum. Students spend one afternoon each week off campus with a generalist physician or on campus learning communications or physical exam skills. Course
limited to second year medical students.

* Nervous System : Course covers the gross and microscopic anatomy of the nervous system, basic neurobiology and neurophysiology, pharmacology, neuropathology, and basic neurologic and psychiatric examination skills. Emphasis is on the relationship between basic processes and functional systems to clinical phenomena and behavior.

* Digestive, Endocrine and Metabolic Systems : This interdisciplinary course integrates clinical and basic science topics related to the normal function and
diseases of the gastrointestinal and endocrine systems. The biochemistry and physiology of nutrient metabolism in health and disease will also be covered.

* Ethics in the Health Professions II : Required two-part course in ethics taught with dental, medical, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy and physician assistant students. This course includes basic knowledge and skills in ethical theory and reasoning, professional ethics, and inter-professional approaches to health care decision making.

* Life Cycle : Course provides an interdisciplinary approach to the normal biology and pathobiology of the male and female reproductive systems, reproduction and pregnancy, the fetus, newborn and child, aging, and end of life. Clinical cases and physical examination will be integrated throughout.

* Infectious Disease : This course integrates microbiology, infectious diseases, and antimicrobial pharmacology. Content covers pathogenic microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites), host-pathogen interactions, microbial virulence
determinants, host immune responses, signs and symptoms of disease presentation, epidemiology, laboratory diagnosis, prevention (vaccines) and therapy (antimicrobials).

* Basic Cardiac Life Support Update : A re-certification. principles of BCLS will be taught, utilizing lecture, demonstrations on mannequins, practice session. Course conducted on a Saturday in mid-Spring. Students read required text prior to course, pass written
examination, demonstrate near perfect performance skills essential to BCLS.


* Foundations of Doctoring III : Students spend one afternoon, 2-3 times a month in the office of a generalist or specialist physician. Students will spend one afternoon every 5 weeks in small groups discussing the third year and professionalism issues.

* Transition to the 3rd Year : Students will be introduced to basic skills essential for succeeding in the 3rd year, legal/ethical/professionalism issues, and be introduced to subspecialty knowledge and skills that are used in all clerkships.

* Family Medicine Clerkship : A rural clinical experience, introducing students to patients/problems seen by family physicians in community settings. Highlights assessment and management of ambulatory patients, but also includes exposure to patients located in community hospitals, nursing homes, emergency departments, or patient’s home.

* Clinical Clerkship in Neurology : On hospital services and in outpatient clinics, students conduct history-taking and physical examinations to develop skills in neurologic diagnosis and treatment. Students work with housestaff, present patients to attending physicians and attend conferences and seminars on neurologic topics.

* Clinical Clerkship in Medicine : Clerkship consists of two five-week blocks, one in a Denver core teaching hospital; the other at another core hospital, an affiliated hospital, or a combined ambulatory/inpatient AHEC site. Optional two-week ambulatory experience available at the end of either block.

* Clinical Clerkship in Obstetrics and Gynecology : Students work in general and subspecialty OBGYN clinics, labor and delivery, OB and GYN wards, and in O.R. Offered at University Hospital, Denver Health Medical Center or an AHEC site (as available). Students are contacted by student coordinator via e-mail.

* Clinical Clerkships in Pediatrics : This required clerkship develops the skills and knowledge to care for pediatrics patients of all ages in hospital or ambulatory settings. Student study the impact of growth, development and family on a child’s physical and mental wellbeing and illness.

* Clinical Clerkship in Psychiatry : Work with psychiatric adult/child inpatients, outpatients at 12 sites including AHEC's, providing exciting, unique clinical settings. Students cover 10 clinical experiences outlined in Medical Student Log.

* Junior Surgery : Students study surgical disease processes and therapeutic procedures in clinical settings, while gaining operative experience in general surgery. Focuses on the assessment and management of common inpatient episodes of care and ambulatory surgical problems.

* Electives.

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