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University of Massachusetts (Medical School)

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts' first and only public medical school, the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) was founded in 1962 to provide affordable, high-quality medical education to state residents and to increase the number of primary care physicians practicing in underserved areas of the state. More than 40 years later, UMMS retains the pioneering spirit that attracted its founding faculty and students, even as it has matured to become one of the nation's top 50 medical schools.

UMMS, located in Worcester, is one of five University of Massachusetts campuses, and one of about 28 free-standing, university-based academic health science centers in the U.S. Ranked fourth in the nation in primary care education in the 2006 U.S.News & World Report's “America's Best Graduate Schools,” the institution's main components are the School of Medicine, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the Graduate School of Nursing. Its clinical partner is UMass Memorial Health Care.

As the sponsor of educational and service programs in health care throughout the commonwealth, UMMS is a local, regional and statewide health resource.

The school's founding educational objective was to provide high-quality and accessible medical education to residents of Massachusetts. This objective has been expanded to include graduate education in biomedical sciences and nursing, graduate medical education, training in various allied health professions, and continuing education for health care practitioners.

Established in 1962, UMass Medical School accepted its first class in 1970. Since then, its primary responsibility has been to provide excellent education to medical students - all residents of the commonwealth - who come determined to master the basic sciences of medicine, and to become caring physicians concerned with the total patient. For the 100 students enrolled in each class, the School of Medicine is committed to training in the full range of medical disciplines, with emphasis on practice in the primary care specialties, in the public sector, and in underserved areas of Massachusetts. The School of Medicine is one of 14 centers in the nation to be awarded the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Generalist Physician Initiative grant. This provides UMMS with $2.5 million in funding to support training in the primary care disciplines.

Our educational mission is enhanced by over 40 accredited residency and 25 fellowship programs;
some 250 continuing education programs for the region’s health care professionals; cooperative degree programs with area colleges and universities; diverse community-based education programs across the state of Massachusetts; outstanding growth in basic and clinical research in the health sciences; and our
Commonwealth Medicine initiative, dedicated to serving our state’s broad community of health care and service agencies.

Our courses and clerkships are continuously being enhanced and renewed, to keep pace with the rapidly changing science of medicine, the evolving standards of professional medical practice, and state-of-the-art educational methods and technologies necessary
for teaching and learning in the information age. Supporting these state-of-the-art advances, UMMS has invested in a major transformation of our educational facilities and resources, including an expansion of small group learning space, a major library renovation, technology upgrades in lecture halls and laboratories,
expanded on-site computer access for students and wireless connectivity throughout the UMMS campus. Our faculty and technology experts have partnered to create a robust array of online educational resources, including our Web-based curriculum calendar, providing both students and faculty with universal and up-to-date access to course schedules and educational events;
“technology classroom sessions” that integrate on-line, interactive teaching cases into large group lectures; and a variety of computer- based independent learning modules that include image databases, interactive learning exercises, Web-based clinical simulations
and computer-based testing.

School name:University of MassachusettsMedical School
Address:55 Lake Avenue North
Zip & city:MA 01655 Massachusetts

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Medical School Courses


The first two years of the educational program provide the essential foundations of the medical sciences, clinical skills and professional values that will serve students’ lifelong learning needs and career paths as physicians. The curriculum emphasizes current advances in the life sciences; applications and clinical
correlations to patient care; integration of content across years and courses; opportunities for self-directed, independent study; teaching and learning in teams; and cross-disciplinary teaching models that engage clinicians, basic scientists and the broad
spectrum of the health professions such as nursing, the social sciences, public health and the allied health professions.


* Human Anatomy : Explores gross anatomy and embryology in a clinical context. Students study the
normal structure of the human body using dissection and radiologic images. They use their understanding of structure-function relationships to begin interpreting the signs, symptoms and course of selected human diseases and injuries. The resources of the UMMS human anatomy lab offer exceptional learning experiences in human anatomy dissection and an extensive inventory of prosected specimens and radiologic images.

* Histology/Cell Biology : Provides a basic understanding
of structural and spatial organization at the micro-anatomical level and how this relates to the function of cells, tissues and organ systems. Presentation of the organ systems is linked with the Physiology course, and the dynamic nature of structure-function relationships is emphasized. Students observe micro-anatomical structure in the lab and consider how knowledge of normal structure and function can be applied to clinical problem solving. The course also offers a selection of on-line histologic
images and Web-based self study modules to supplement classroom and lab-based educational activities.

* Physiology : Is broadly defined as the study of functional mechanisms that underlie life. During the Physiology course, students learn the molecular and cellular underpinnings of human organ and whole body functions. By means of lectures and small group
problem-solving sessions, the normal functions and integrative nature of the human body are explored. This exploration introduces students to the clinical problem-solving model as they begin to acquire the skills of interpreting the signs, symptoms and processes that are characteristic of human health and disease.

* Mind, Brain and Behavior I : Is the first course in a longitudinal, integrated neuroscience curriculum
that spans all four years. Students learn about the relationship between the structure and function of the nervous system, and about the various behaviors
generated through this dynamic interaction. The emphasis is on knowledge and skills that are both
current and clinically relevant, with topics covering the organization of major CNS motor and sensory systems; systems serving emotion, memory and intellect;
principles underlying structurefunction relationships at the cellular and system level; and functional/clinical consequences of damage or disconnection in these systems. Students apply their knowledge to solve clinical problems in which the primary task is to localize the lesion. Material about stroke and its prevention is
interwoven throughout the course.

* Biochemistry : Course incorporates the fundamental
aspects of biochemistry through lectures, Web-based modules, clinical correlations, medical vignettes, problem-solving sessions and problem-based cases. Students gain expertise in understanding chemical and cellular mechanisms underlying normal and disease processes. In order to achieve these goals, a large body of material is presented as a framework for understanding problems in human health, while the modes of problem solving used for investigation of the molecular basis of disease are emphasized. An innovative disease-based model has been developed to teach the principles of metabolism. Using diabetes as a framework, this disease-based approach highlights clinical applications and the relevance of basic science principles to the cutting-edge advances in diabetes management.

* Physician, Patient and Society : course (Years 1 and 2) allows students to develop their clinical skills early on, from their first days in medical school. The course emphasizes the medical interview, and its three major
functions—gathering data, establishing and maintaining patient relationships and educating the patient; the physical exam; clinical reasoning and problem solving; medical ethics; community medicine and public health;
teaching and learning for development as a lifelong learner; and personal and professional growth. The course is integrated with the ongoing curriculum, so
that students can apply basic science information to practice in clinical situations. This integrative aspect of the curriculum emphasizes that physicians must call upon knowledge from diverse areas to solve clinical problems. The course is also longitudinal, allowing students to learn basic skills early so they can take on
progressively more difficult tasks, such as performing a geriatric interview, obtaining a sexual history or delivering bad news. Two components of the course, the Longitudinal Preceptor Program (LPP) and Physical Diagnosis (PD), function as practice laboratories.
Through the LPP, students are placed in the clinical setting from day one of medical school and
have the opportunity to see and interact with patients under the supervision of their assigned LPP preceptor. A diverse array of preceptorship sites are available and include urban, rural, as well as underserved settings. Students attend LPP sessions an average of every other week during the first two years, first “shadowing”
their assigned physician preceptor, then actively practicing the skills that have been taught in the PPS small groups. Similar to the continuity of learning model in the LPP, the PD course provides ongoing experience in physical diagnosis across the first two years, with early and hands-on practice of physical exam skills with standardized patients and later with patients in the clinical setting. The Year 1 and 2 PD courses include a lecture series, practice “skills” sessions, as well as on-line curriculum that allows students to review and reinforce the various techniques and skills involved in the physical exam. By Year 2, students are prepared to
conduct full and complete physical exams on hospitalized patients under the direct supervision of an assigned PD preceptor.

* Human Genetics : Course exposes students to basic concepts on molecular, cytogenetic and clinical levels. Building on the basic biochemistry of nucleic acids, DNA replication and repair, transcription and protein synthesis, the course lays the foundation for understanding how mutations result in disease
processes. Both classic Mendelian inheritance and newly described complex forms of inheritance are presented. Emphasis is placed on the molecular nature of specific genetic disorders, and students explore the impact of genetic disease on the family and society. The implications of current research, imperative for all
physicians of the 21st century, are also explored. Throughout the course, clinical correlations and patient case presentations illustrate and reinforce the relevance
of basic genetic principles to the care of patients.

* Nutrition : Course emphasizes the importance of nutritional assessment and counseling throughout the lifespan as a key feature of medical care. The course is divided into two blocks, a core series of lectures and case discussions in the fall semester that are closely linked with the Biochemistry course, and a series
of topics tied to organ system presentations (Physiology and Histology) in the spring. Students learn core principles that are essential to nutrition, and explore nutritional assessment and counseling, common issues such as obesity, and special nutritional needs at various stages of life.

* Biology of Disease : course covers the pathology
and pathophysiology of human diseases. Under the
leadership of the departments of Medicine and Pathology, the course is comprehensively coordinated across the clinical and basic departments, using an integrated organ system approach to human disease. Students thereby develop an in-depth understanding of disease by correlating underlying molecular and
physiologic mechanisms with structural, functional and clinical manifestations. The course begins with an introduction to general disease mechanisms at the cellular and tissue levels and continues with an analysis of specific diseases as they affect various
organ systems. The Multi-System component of the course offers interactive, computer-based problem-solving sessions based on clinical cases. Students interact directly with faculty to “solve”
the clinical problems while integrating curriculum content across various organ systems.

* Microbiology : explores pathogenic microorganisms, providing students knowledge necessary for mastering the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of infectious diseases. Students are first introduced to the basic biological processes of viruses and bacteria. Then, the strategies that microbial pathogens use to successfully infect humans and cause disease are described. Finally, students are introduced to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of specific human infections. A comprehensive Web site provides supplementary resources for independent study and self-directed

* Pharmacology : The objective of the course is to help students learn pharmacological principles and become
familiar with commonly used classes of drugs. The course also emphasizes general principles that can often be applied broadly to many therapeutic agents. An understanding of these principles, such as drug
absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion, and the mechanisms by which drugs produce their therapeutic effects, helps students treat the whole patient instead of a particular symptom. The Pharmacology course Web site offers a comprehensive database of drug structures and other Web-based
pharmacology resources.

* Physician, Patient & Society I : the second year of the PPS course continues students’ introduction to clinical
skills and begins the bridge to direct patient care in the third-year clerkships. Students refine their interviewing, physical examination and problem-solving skills, leading to the development of problem lists, assessments and management plans, and developing knowledge of epidemiology, health care delivery, ethics, decision analyses and multi-cultural issues. Communication
skills are further developed through presentations
with patients and close observation and constructive feedback from faculty, preparing students for self-directed learning in the clerkships.

* Mind, Brain and Behavior II : Constitutes the second year of the integrated neuroscience curriculum and is co-directed by faculty in the departments of Neurology, Psychiatry and Pathology. The first half of this multidisciplinary course introduces students to the general mechanisms of disease affecting the nervous system from a functional and structural perspective, and then considers the pathophysiology and clinical aspects
of specific neurological syndromes and structural
disorders with emphasis on clinical-pathological correlation and principles of localization. The second half of the course considers normal and abnormal
human behavior from birth to old age, explores the major psychopathological syndromes and provides an introduction to clinical psychiatry.


The clerkship years comprise the third and fourth years of study and constitute a critical transition in students’ educational experience, from the classroom to the clinical setting. During these “clinical years,” students
enter the hospital wards, ambulatory clinics and physician offices and serve as members of the health care teams that provide direct care to patients and their
families. Under the guidance and supervision of faculty, clinical years students actively apply the principles of clinical medicine to patient care, practice and acquire essential technical skills, and further develop the personal and professional values that will enable them to serve as caring, competent and compassionate physicians. The Third Year begins with a formal program of orientation to the clinical clerkships. The clerkship orientation program provides comprehensive exposure to the essential information and introductory
skills training that will prepare students for a successful
transition to their clerkship rotations. Students then begin their third-year clerkship rotations in the six required disciplines of medicine, surgery, family medicine, obstetrics & gynecology, pediatrics and psychiatry.


* Internal Medicine : Students spend eight weeks in the acute care, inpatient setting at one of five teaching sites, and four weeks in the ambulatory care setting in a community physician’s office. Through these diverse experiences, students learn to diagnose and manage the major illnesses of adults of all ages as well as the principles and practice of health promotion and disease prevention.
Supplementing students’ learning in the clinical setting,
essential skills in history-taking, clinical problem solving and physical examination are developed through hands-on practice and direct observation and feedback using standardized patients.
The clerkship’s curriculum emphasizes an appreciation of the impact of illness on the patient, physician and society, and the use of evidence-driven approaches to the diagnosis, management and prevention of disease. Students also explore ethical dilemmas, issues in geriatric medicine and those surrounding end of
life. Student performance is assessed through a variety of measures including clinical performance evaluations by faculty preceptors, performance on the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) and on a written test, the National Board Internal Medicine shelf exam.

* Pediatrics : Utilizes the pediatric interview and a clinical problem-solving orientation to encourage patient/student interaction, critical thinking and preceptor/student
discussion. Students become familiar with the primary care and subspecialty aspects of the field and the important role the pediatrician plays in the physical and emotional development of children. In the ambulatory component of the clerkship, students spend three weeks as a member of a health care team in a community- based outpatient office, supplemented with experiences in urgent care, newborn nursery and patient home visits. For the inpatient component of the clerkship, students spend three weeks in an acute care hospital caring for hospitalized children. Throughout
the entire six-week clerkship, students actively participate in the health care of pediatric patients and their families, developing and refining interviewing and clinical problem-solving skills.

* Family Medicine : Gives students a broad exposure to the principles and practice of family medicine.
Students work one-on-one with an assigned community-based faculty preceptor, seeing and following patients in the office setting over the six weeks. This format provides students with a continuity of care experience, in which the health care needs of
patients and their families are managed over time. An innovative curriculum based on the virtual “McQ” family is conducted at the medical school, where students work in small groups to manage the health care needs of this simulated three-generation family.
Core curricular objectives include prenatal care management, common childhood illness, adolescent issues, health maintenance and disease prevention across diverse age groups and evidencedriven
management of common diseases encountered in the
ambulatory setting. Additionally, students participate in an online program on Ambulatory Medical Ethics and a hands-on curriculum in Evidence-based Medicine.

* Obstetrics & Gynecology : Students participate in women’s health care at both inpatient and ambulatory settings located at large tertiary referral centers and
smaller community hospitals. Formal didactic and clinical sessions are interwoven to help students build interviewing, physical examination, and diagnostic and management planning skills.
The clerkship’s curriculum focuses on a variety of areas related to the women’s health across the life cycle, including family planning, prenatal care, normal and abnormal labor management, gynecologic surgery, cancer screening and treatment, menopausal
issues, and assessment and management of pain, infection and bleeding.

* Surgery :Students learn a broad base of fundamental skills and clinical knowledge pertaining to general surgery and the surgical specialities. The clerkship’s
clinical experiences include a variety of venues, with rotations in the traditional surgical disciplines as well as the subspecialties. These clinical experiences are enriched by a core curriculum that includes basic science and clinical lectures, standardized patient
cases and practice in basic surgical techniques. Students spend two months on inpatient surgical services and one month in subspecialty services and clinics. In addition to seeing patients in the hospital, emergency rooms and clinics, students attend conferences and participate in small group discussion utilizing the case study method of teaching.

* Psychiatry : Students develop the interviewing, reasoning and communications skills fundamental to psychiatric diagnosis and intervention. An integrative
model is stressed, emphasizing the biologic,
psychodynamic, social and behavioral aspects of treatment. Students learn about diagnosis and treatment of common psychiatric disorders and develop an appreciation for the unique factors that influence presentation, treatment response and prognosis. Students also learn the role of psychiatrist and other mental health disciplines in the care of persons with mental illness; how to work as part of a heath care team; and when and how to refer patients for mental health services.

* Neurology : provides students with a solid foundation
in the neurological exam, the interpretation and
significance of exam findings, and the major neurological disorders and syndromes. Educational experiences include inpatient as well as outpatient rotations and a core curriculum to supplement these clinical experiences. The Subinternship allows students to
experience first-hand the role of being an intern on an acute care hospital service under direct supervision of residents and attending physicians. Duties include admission and initial evaluation of the patient, subsequent coordination of care for that patient during
hospital stay, daily ward rounds and discharge planning.
Students are expected to take overnight calls with an assigned team and patient load is comparable to other interns on the team. Subinternship rotations are offered in approved specialties that currently include Medicine and Family Medicine.

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