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Vanderbilt University (School of Medicine)

Medical students, house officers, clinical fellows, graduate and postdoctoral students, and faculty at The Vanderbilt University School of Medicine learn in an environment that supports excellence in education, patient care, and research. Since its establishment in 1875, the School of Medicine has made education its highest priority.

Our Mission : Students and faculty learn in an environment that supports excellence in education, patient care and research. Since 1875, the School of Medicine has made education its highest priority. We seek the best and brightest students and provide them with a foundation in the basic and clinical sciences that enables them to become leaders and scholars. Our dedicated faculty work closely with each student in a supportive environment that encourages creative thinking and diversity.

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine offers a strong core education in MD training.

Our leaders look beyond the traditional way of educating physicians - a focus that is making the medical school a national leader in the number of dual degrees offered.

Today's doctors are being challenged to know something about many different areas, such as business, law, spirituality, and public health. No one doctor can be an expert in every area, but having specialists around who have taken the time to get the necessary training certainly adds to the service of the community.

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM) seeks to matriculate a diverse group of academically exceptional students whose attributes and accomplishments suggest that they will be future leaders and/or scholars in medicine. To accomplish this goal, VUSM provides a review of each candidate by multiple members of the faculty who are broadly representative of the faculty body. The committee uses a holistic approach to evaluate an array of applicant attributes, including academic excellence, personal characteristics, accomplishments in research, leadership, service to others, contribution to diversity (gender, race, ethnicity, sexual preference, socio-economic background, geographic origin), and participation in extracurricular activities.

The Vanderbilt University School of Medicine boasts a culturally diverse and well-rounded student body that is both passionate about medicine and about outside interests and activities. Our students can be found doing anything from singing a cappella to starting a student run free clinic for the underprivileged to playing intramural sports to making an impact on health care policy.

The School of Medicine places great emphasis on the wellness of its students, and is committed to building a supportive and enriching environment packed with opportunities for personal growth. With this in mind, the school offers a vast and captivating array of intellectual, cultural, athletic, and social activities.

Student organizations are created and run by students with support from the School of Medicine. Over 40 student organizations allow students to pursue existing interests as well as explore new ones.

Situated in the vibrant and progressive city of Nashville, TN, also affectionately known as "Music City USA" or "the Athens of the South," the School of Medicine offers the diversity and excitement of living in a moderately large city combined with the safety of the suburbs. The medical campus, adjacent to the undergraduate campus and other professional schools, is only 10 minutes from the cultural and entertainment attractions of downtown Nashville and the scenic riverfront of the Cumberland River.

The curriculum is divided into required courses taken by all students and elective courses taken at the choice of the individual student. Required courses constitute the nucleus of medical education at Vanderbilt; elective courses are an integral part of each student’s educational experience in the School of Medicine, providing considerable flexibility for individual programming. Students develop an elective program to meet individual needs with the help of the faculty and the approval of the Associate Dean for Medical Students or a designee.

All electives are courses for credit. Electives in the first and second years are graded as Pass or Fail; electives and selectives in the third and fourth years are graded on the same basis as required courses. The format for electives includes lecture or seminar series, specialty clinics, clinical clerkships, or research experiences at Vanderbilt or other approved institutions; and, in special circumstances, Vanderbilt undergraduate or graduate courses may be counted as electives.

The medical school curriculum in the preclinical years is organized on a semester basis. Students are encouraged to participate in a summer research or community service experience.

The curriculum is under constant review by both faculty and students, and is subject to timely change as recommended by the Academic Programs Committee and approved by the Executive Faculty.

School name:Vanderbilt UniversitySchool of Medicine
Address:21st Ave. South at Garland Ave.
Zip & city:TN 37232 Tennessee

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Biochemistry, gross anatomy, physiology, psychiatry, ecology of health care, microbiology and immunology, cell and tissue biology, and the Emphasis program. Wednesday and Friday afternoons are reserved for electives in the spring semester. Electives available to the first year student cover a wide range of subjects including alcohol and drug abuse, human sexuality, death and dying, cancer biology, emergency medical services, legal medicine, medicine in the community, medical ethics, introduction to problem solving, and a clinical preceptorship program.


* Advanced Biochemistry : Offered in place of Biochemistry 5012 for medical students with demonstrated advanced standing in Biochemistry. Selected topics are presented with particular focus on the biochemical/molecular mechanisms relevant to human physiologic and pathophysiologic processes. Lectures are supplemented with small group conferences that serve to integrate and broaden course material and to relate molecular processes to the study of human disease.

* Biochemistry : This course is designed to familiarize the student with the structure and function of biomolecules and to provide a general understanding of life processes at the molecular level. Topics to be covered include the chemistry, metabolism, and cellular functions of amino acids, proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, lipids, and vitamins. Lectures are supplemented with clinical correlation sessions and small group conferences that serve to integrate and broaden course material and to relate molecular processes to the study of human disease.

* Ecology of Health Care : Medicine is practiced and health care is delivered in a complex ethical, cultural and policy environment. This course introduces students to some of the fundamental components of this larger environment, including ethical and legal issues in medical practice, the social and cultural diversity of patients, and the basics of health care financing and organization in the US. Materials for study will be wide-ranging, including case studies, essays, reports, poetry, short stories, and films. The course meets in small groups, Mondays, 11:00-12:30, during the Fall term.

* Gross Anatomy : This course focuses on the macroscopic structure of the human body and anatomic principles, which provide the basis for physical examination and much of diagnosis and therapy in clinical practice. The course includes multimedia presentations by faculty, which supplement the experiential learning through regional cadaveric dissection, on which the course is centered. An emphasis is placed on gaining an understanding of the autonomic nervous system and experience with cross-sectional and dimensional anatomy as it relates to current techniques of medical imaging. Student team presentations of anatomical clinical correlations are required. The course incorporates development (embryology) of the organs and systems studied.

* Introduction to the Patient Professionalism : The objective of this course is to expose first year medical students to clinicians early in their educational training and to give opportunity to obtain exposure to clinician role models so that the idealistic and altruistic attitudes which brought them to medicine may be sustained during the preclinical phase of their education. We also hope to provide an experience in which medicine is practiced; specifically the common sense and practical consideration which influence approaches taken and outcomes achieved in the health care system. The format of the course will be as follows: One to two students will be assigned to a clinician and will meet with that clinician two to three afternoons per month. Students will be in discussion groups and will have didactic presentations in Mind and Medicine as well as Ecology of Health Care which will be based on these clinical encounters.

* Psychiatry : Mind and Medicine This course provides instruction in the psychological, behavioral, social and developmental aspects of medical illness, the psychological responses of patients to illness, and the doctor-patient relationship.

* Cell and Tissue Biology : This course is designed to give students a familiarity with the properties of cells, in particular their interactions with one another as components of the tissues and organs of the body. Emphasis is placed on the correlates between structure and function at both the light and electron microscopic levels as a basis for understanding the physiological and biochemical activities of cells and tissues.

* Human Physiology : This course consists of lectures, small group discussions and clinical correlations designed to cover the essentials of human physiology for first-year medical students.

* Microbiology and Immunology : This provides a comprehensive course of microbiology and immunology encompassing the molecular cell biology of microbial agents and the immune system, review of pathogenic bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, and parasites. The course consists of lectures, conferences, and laboratory sessions and problem-based small group discussions focused on different pathogen-host relationships.


During the second semester, all the clinical departments cooperate in providing an introduction to history taking and the physical examination through a series of lectures, demonstrations, small group sessions, and individual student work with patients. A variety of elective courses or independent study electives may be taken on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons in the fall semester, and Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons in the spring semester.


* General and Special Pathology : General and systems pathology and pathophysiology are presented in lectures, gross organ demonstrations, small group discussions, laboratory work and case studies, some of which use the problem-based learning process. Gross and microscopic lesions characteristic of various diseases are studied and correlated with clinical features. Computer-based lessons supplement other activities and are web-based. Students participate in autopsies, and are assigned patient problems for study and presentation to classmates and faculty.

* Introduction to Clinical Psychiatry : This course educates the second year student on the diagnosis, etiology, and treatment of the basic psychiatric disorders: Major depression and bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders (panic, PTSD, generalized anxiety, OCD), eating disorders, personality disorders, somatoform disorders, addictions, geriatric psychiatry and child psychiatry. Case presentations in small groups are used to demonstrate the major disorders discussed in the lecture series.

* Introduction to Radiology : Introduction to Radiology. This weekly one-hour lecture course introduces basic principles of imaging and interpretation of x-ray, ultrasound, CT, MR, and radionuclide methods in the study of various organ systems. To prepare the student for clinical clerkships, indications, contraindications, and risks of various examinations and procedures will be presented by faculty of the Department of Radiology and Radiological Services. When feasible, radiology topics will correlate with that week's pathology laboratory and lecture topics. The student's grade will be determined by one-hour midterm and final examinations.

* Medical Neurosciences : The purpose of this course is to provide second year medical students and graduate students with a solid understanding of the organization of the human central nervous system. The course attempts to integrate basic information from neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and neurochemistry. Students will also be introduced to the most up-to-date research currently being conducted in neurobiology, with a special emphasis on research with potential clinical significance. Clinical material is provided by patient presentations, discussions of the impact of neurological disease on patients and their loved ones, and by an analysis of pathological cases. Two to four hours lecture and four hours of laboratory per week.

* Genetics : Genetics/interdisciplinary: New developments in genetics are providing new insights into pathogenesis and promise to alter the practice of medicine. At the same time, genetic information has implications that affect the individual clinician-patient relationship and beyond, including families, access to insurance, employment, and population screening--effects that could alter the use of this knowledge. This course will be taught using a primarily case-based problem method and will have the following goals: 1) To introduce students to use of basic principles of molecular, chromosomal, Mendelian and population genetics, 2) To teach students how to obtain family and medical histories and use these along with their knowledge of genetic principles and reliable genetic information, obtained using Web-based tools, to detect, diagnose and treat biochemical, cancer, chromosomal, congenital anomalies, neurogenetic and other genetic disorders, 3) To provide understanding of the ethical and public policy implications of genetic disorders and genetic screening, and 4) To use these concepts and tools along with integration of some of the information learned earlier in medical school courses to improve the diagnosis and treatment of genetic disorders affecting individuals of all ages.

* Introduction to Clinical Nutrition : Introduction to Clinical Nutrition. A multidisciplinary course that is intended to provide students with a practical knowledge of clinical nutrition that can be applied in future patient care. Vulnerable populations are described throught the life cycle. Basic nutrition assessment and intervention techniques are presented. Useful nutrition resources are highlighted for clinicians and the public. The crucial roles of nutrition in disease prevention and management are illustrated.

* Laboratory Diagnosis : Laboratory Diagnosis This course formally introduces the second year medical student to the use of laboratory data in solving clinical problems. The course considers the manner in which tests are performed as well as the pathophysiology underlying abnormal test results. However, the emphasis is on the use of laboratory data in clinical problem solving. The student is expected to gain proficiency in using a logical approach to problem solving across a broad range of clinical problems. Specifically, the student will become proficient in defining a clinical problem, determining what information is needed to solve the problem, and then using the necessary information to either establish a diagnosis or to determine what further information is needed. Basic considerations regarding therapy will also be presented. Among the areas which are covered are anemia, disorders of white blood cells, coagulation and blood banking, limits of testing, kidney disorders including electrolytes and acid-base disorders, pulmonary medicine, gastroenterology, rheumatology, body fluids, cardiology including electrocardiography, and endocrinology. The course is taught in full class lectures.

* Pharmacology : Lectures in which relevant physiology and pathophysiology, therapeutic interventions and the reaction of the human organism to drugs used for therapeutic interventions is addressed in a systematic manner. Six lectures a week and two to three hours of conference work a week, including patient-oriented problem solving, clinical correlations and conferences in which students learn to evaluate results of drug trials.

* Physical Diagnosis : The introduction to clinical medicine course for second year students. Emphasizes interviewing skills, acquiring a medical data base, and performing a comprehensive physical examination. Utilizes a mentor system with groups of four students assigned to two faculty tutors who will guide them through history taking, patient examinations, and write-ups. Includes lectures, practical sessions, and patient encounters.

* Principles of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Preventive Medicine : This course introduces and elaborates the principles of the epidemiologic method and emphasizes insights for curative and preventive clinical medicine gained through studies of populations. Epidemiologic methods permit the identification of risk-factors for acute and chronic diseases and suggest strategies for intervention. The course presents the foundations of epidemiology and clinical experimentation. The sources and consequences of biases are described and illustrated. The course also reviews major health issues and current developments in the organization, financing and regulating of health services. The course combines classroom presentations with opportunity for class participation, written exercises which are discussed in groups, and other group discussions. Text and handout materials are used as adjuncts to classroom and group presentations.


Medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, surgery, psychiatry, and neurology. Required clerkships are scheduled primarily during the third year. Students are assigned to clerkship rotations by a computer program that optimizes their prospects of obtaining their preferred sequence. Students have close contact with selected patients under the supervision of attending physicians and house staff.

Students have the option of starting the required clerkships at different times, beginning in early July. All students are required to complete the ten-week clerkships in medicine and surgery and two of the eight-week clerkships (obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics, or psychiatry/neurology) no later than June of their third year. Ordinarily, all required core clerkships are completed by the end of August of the fourth year, but students may defer the final core clerkship to a later time in order to pursue research or other special educational opportunities with the approval of the Associate Dean for Medical Student Affairs.


* Pediatrics : Each member of the third-year class is assigned to Pediatrics for five and one half weeks. Approximately half of the rotation is spent on the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital pediatric wards. Students participate in all phases of diagnosis, management and treatment of a wide variety of illnesses of children and infants who are admitted to the hospital. The other half of the clerkship includes work in pediatric clinics or a pediatrician's office. Besides teaching rounds on the wards and nursery, student lectures are held once a week. Grand Rounds are held weekly and Chief Resident Rounds are held each Thursday.

* Surgery : Surgery Clinical Rotation; For ten weeks each student in the third-year class is assigned to the surgical divisions of Vanderbilt University Hospital or Nashville Veterans Administration Medical Center. Under the direction and supervision of the staff, the student takes histories, does physical examinations and assists the staff in the diagnostic evaluation and clinical management of assigned patients. Half of each student's period of clinical work is in general surgery. The other five weeks of the clinical assignment provide two (2) rotations to the specialty services in Anesthesiology(VAH), Cardiothoracic VUH,VAH), Neurosurgery(VUH), Ophthalmology(VUH), Orthopaedic Surgery(VUH), Otolaryngology(VUH), Pediatric Surgery(VUH), Plastic Surgery(VUH), Renal Transplant(VUH), Urology(VUH), Vascular Surgery(VUH), Trauma(VUH). These rotations provide exposure to a variety of patients with problems in general surgery and in the specialty fields of surgery. Members of the staff hold teaching sessions daily. Students go with their patients to the operating rooms where they are observers and assistants. An integral part of this clerkship is the core lecture series in surgery. Students will be assigned faculty preceptors for small group discussions. General Surgery 1. General Surgery, Vanderbilt There are multiple general surgical services at VUH as follows: 1a. Emergency General Surgery, Vanderbilt This is one of the options for general surgery at Vanderbilt. The Emergency General Surgery service evaluates consultations for acute surgical patients from the ED and from other services within the hospital. All urgent surgical issues (appendicitis, bowel obstruction, etc.) are handled by this service. Students participate in the assessment of patients, in indicated operations and post-operative care. 1b. Gastrointestinal/Laparoscopic Surgery, Vanderbilt This is one of the options for general surgery at Vanderbilt. The GI/lap service cares for a diverse mix of elective surgical patients. This includes hernias, cholecystectomies, surgical treatment of reflux and obesity, advanced laparoscopic cases, colorectal surgery, pancreatic surgery, breast surgery. Students attend clinics and operative cases and participate in the post-operative care of patients. 1c. Oncologic/Endocrine Surgery This is one of the options for general surgery at Vanderbilt. The onc/endo service cares for patients with advanced malignancies and endocrine problems. This includes breast, colorectal, pancreatic cancers, melanoma, sarcomas, and thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal disease. Students attend clinics and operative cases and participate in the post-operative care of patients. 1d. Hepatobiliary, Vanderbilt This is one of the options for general surgery at Vanderbilt. Students participate in the evaluation and complex care of patients undergoing liver transplantation. In addition, students will get exposure to hepatic resections for tumor, surgery for morbid obesity, and organ harvest procedures. Students have the opportunity to go to cases on other services as well to broaden their exposure to more basic general surgical cases. 2. General Surgery, VA The VA hospital provides a broad base of general surgical experience, with additional exposure to vascular surgery. Outpatient and emergent clinical evaluations, and critical care are included in this experience. Subspecialties Anesthesiology, VAH Cardiothoracic, VUH Cardiothoracic, VAH Neurosurgery, VUH Ophthalmology, VUH Orthopaedic Surgery, VUH Otolaryngology, VUH Pediatric Surgery, VUH Plastic Surgery, VUH Renal Transplant, VUH Urology, VUH Vascular Surgery, VUH Trauma, VUH

* Pediatrics : Each member of the third-year class is assigned to Pediatrics for five and one half weeks. Approximately half of the rotation is spent on the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital pediatric wards. Students participate in all phases of diagnosis, management and treatment of a wide variety of illnesses of children and infants who are admitted to the hospital. The other half of the clerkship includes work in pediatric clinics or a pediatrician's office. Besides teaching rounds on the wards and nursery, student lectures are held once a week. Grand Rounds are held weekly and Chief Resident Rounds are held each Thursday.

* Obstetrics and Gynecology : Each member of the third-year class is assigned to the Obstetrics and Gynecology Service for five and one-half weeks. The clerkship includes exposure to both inpatient and outpatient obstetrics and gynecology. Students will be at Vanderbilt University Hospital and for some students a rotation at Baptist Hospital. Throughout the clerkship each student will be paired with a resident physician as part of their continuity clinic. They will see patients together one half day per week. Each student will spend two to three weeks on the Obstetrical rotation. Overnight call is part of the rotation. While on the high risk Maternal-Fetal Service this will include daily attending rounds and involvement with the Maternal-Transport Service. Students will also be assigned to the low risk delivery service. In addition to being involved on Labor and Delivery, students will help manage obstetric patients that are followed in the Vanderbilt Clinic. Each student will spend two to three weeks on Gynecology. This will consist of an inpatient rotation the Gynecologic Oncology Service, the General Gynecology Service, or Gynecology/oncology at Baptist Hospital. The Oncology Service provides exposure and management of gynecologic malignancies. Daily teaching rounds are conducted by the GYN oncologists. The General Gynecology Service provides exposure to the medical and surgical management of patients with benign gynecologic disease. The rotation at Baptist Hospital provides excellent exposure to operative gynecology and to gynecology in the private practice setting. In addition, students are encouraged to observe surgical cases performed by the Reproductive Endocrinology Service. The five and one half week rotation provides an overview and introduction to the discipline of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Included in the rotation is a lecture series given by the faculty covering general obstetrics, high risk obstetrics, gynecologic oncology, reproductive endocrinology, and general gynecology.

* Psychiatry : Psychiatry Clinical Rotation. Basic goals of this clerkship are to learn the fundamental techniques of psychiatric assessment, differential diagnosis and treatment intervention. Activities include direct patient care and clinical rounds in the company of assigned faculty. The four-week placements include: Vanderbilt University Hospital, VA Hospital, the Psychiatric Hospital at Vanderbilt (Adult/Adolescent/Child) and Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute. NOTE: Psychiatry and Neurology are given in an eight-week block.

* Neurology : The rotating students of the third year class are alternately assigned to 2 (two) 2-1/2-week (total=~5-1/2 weeks) rotating blocks of clinical neurology inpatient and outpatient experience (Stroke, General, VA, Consults and Peds Neuro). Students are given direct responsibility for the evaluation and care of patients under the supervision of house staff and faculty. This exposure is intended to provide the students with an approach to patients with diseases of the central, peripheral, autonomic nervous systems and skeletal muscles. On the first day of the rotation, the orientation meeting is on 2nd floor at 2311 Pierce Avenue (Department of Neurology Conference Rooms) at 08:00 hrs. At the end of the rotation you will have to take the NBME exam. Departmental Recognition is given to the highest NBME score. Exposures to other areas of Neurology can be arranged, talk to the Clerkship Director.


Clinical selectives and electives in basic science and/or clinical areas. The fourth year is divided into four-week academic units. The flexibility of the fourth-year curriculum gives the student maximum opportunity for individual development. Eight full academic units must be completed, including one unit in primary care, one in emergency medicine, and two inpatient selective clerkships.


* Primary Care Medicine : All fourth year students will have a four-week unit in an ambulatory primary care setting. Students will choose an experience in outpatient internal medicine, family medicine, or pediatrics. Practice sites include ambulatory medicine or pediatric clinics in the community. Students may also arrange a primary care experience outside of Nashville subject to the approval of the course directors. The clinic experience is supplemented by various conferences and a home health or hospice visit. In addition all students will complete the core didactic lecture series that include exercises in problem based learning, role-plays to foster interview skills, and a program in risk management.

* Emergency Medicine : This required four-week clerkship introduces the senior medical student to the specialty of Emergency Medicine. Students independently interview and examine patients who present to the Emergency Department with a variety of complaints. They will work closely with faculty and senior residents to formulate treatment plans and will participate in procedures and therapeutic interventions. Students will attend 3-5 daily interactive conference weekdays. Lab sessions will review airway skills, splinting and emergency procedures. Students will receive ACLS training and certification during the rotation. Each student will be assigned 12 clinical shifts during the month, which will include some night and weekend shifts. Students will have shifts at 3 different Emergency Departments, and must be able to provide their own transportation. This is a time-intensive clerkship and students should be available for the entire four weeks. A student leave pass will be required for any absences.

* Electives.

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