Basic Science Curriculum

caribbean-medical-school-lab

Our curriculum integrates basic and clinical science to give students an understanding of the human body in health and disease. This approach enables students to use their knowledge not just to treat patients, but also to prevent disease and promote good health.

Throughout the first two years, students participate in a series of clinical medicine courses that focus on the art of patient care and preventive medicine. What is unique to St Matthew's School of Medicine program is that these courses are integrated with the Cayman Island's world class healthcare system. The courses offer students access to hospital and community clinic experience and hospital based research. (Click here for more information.)

Semester One: You will start with the basics: Cellular Biology, Histology and Gross Anatomy.

Semester Two: Now you will move on to the body’s molecular building blocks (Biochemistry), the complex interplay among the body’s different systems (Physiology), as well as Epidemiology and Medical Genetics.

Semester Three: Keep learning about what makes us healthy with studies in Neuroscience; and also what makes us unhealthy, (Microbiology); as well as Medical Psychology and Medical and Legal Ethics.

Semester Four: Build your knowledge about disease (Pathology) as well as therapeutic efforts to deal with it (Pharmacology). You will also learn how to take a history and examine a patient.

Semester Five: Learn more about disease in Pathology and get extensive preparation for the USMLE Step 1.

Semester I

MD111 Patient-Doctor Relations I 2 credits
MD122 Principles of Research and Evidence Based Medicine 2 credits
MD140 Histology & Cell Biology 10 credits
MD166 Developmental and Gross Anatomy 16 credits

 

Semester II

MD236 Genetics 6 credits
MD243 Biostatistics and Epidemiology 4 credits
MD270 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 10 credits
MD282 Physiology 12 credits

 

Semester III

MD300 Medical Spanish - Elective 1 credits
MD311 Patient-Doctor Relations II 2 credits
MD332 Microbiology & Immunology 12 credits
MD369 Neuroscience 9 credits
MD383 Behavioral Sciences and Ethics 13 credits

 

Semester IV

MD411 Patient-Doctor Relations III 6 credits
MD468 Pharmacology 12 credits
MD482 Pathology I 12 credits

 

Semester V

MD552 Pathology II 10 credits
MD562 Clinical Therapeutics 2 credits
MD582 Introduction to Clinical Medicine 8 credits
MD591 Fundamentals of Clinical Sciences 11 credits

 

 

Semester I

Courses during the first semester total 30 credit hours.

Objectives are to:

»Build a strong foundation in the fundamental biologic processes to support the study of the human body in health and disease.
»Understand the structure and function of the organ systems of the body.

 

MD111 Patient-Doctor Relations I

2 credits

This course is the first in a series of required two-credit courses providing medical students with a progressive introduction to the skills and attitudes that are requisite in becoming competent, compassionate physicians. In this first course, students will come to appreciate the essential nature of a complete history. They will understand how the vast majority of patient presentations can be diagnosed with the information available in a complete history. Students will gain experience in history taking and will gain expertise in musculoskeletal examinations.

» top

MD122 Principles of Research and Evidence Based Medicine

2 credits

The student will have an opportunity to develop research skills related to Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM). Students will be introduced to concepts of research analysis and critical thinking. At the end of this course, the student will be able to identify and frame a clinical question based on therapy, diagnosis, prognosis or etiology; develop a focused search strategy to identify articles that best answer the clinical question; identify and use the appropriate medical database; and critically appraise articles for validity.

» top

MD140 Histology & Cell Biology

10 credits

This course examines the microanatomy of cells, tissues and organs. Lectures illustrate the microstructure of major tissues and organs in relation to their function. Laboratory exercises use the light microscope to study these components and make use of slides and electron micrographs for review and discussion. This lab-oriented course presents the molecular biology and histology of normal cells, tissues and organ systems at various developmental functional stages. Students will learn the unique characteristics of the four basic tissues of the body: epithelial tissue, connective tissue (including bone, cartilage and blood), muscle tissue and nervous tissue. Student will learn how individual cell functions interact with one another and how such interactions are accomplished from the tissue levels to the organ levels. The course introduces molecular and control systems, and the course prepares the student for future understanding of normal (homeostasis) system and pathological conditions. In addition, the student learns how molecular building blocks are utilized for growth and differentiation, wound healing and tissue repair, defense mechanisms and transfer of hereditary characters. (Lecture/Lab)

» top

MD166 Developmental and Gross Anatomy

16 credits

This course integrates gross human anatomy and medical embryology, allowing students to understand the relationship of embryological development to gross structure and the mechanisms of congenital abnormalities. Through lectures, use of human plastinated cadavers, evaluation of radiographs (including CT and MRI) and clinical correlations, students acquire a basic knowledge of the normal gross structure, functional and clinical anatomy of organs and systems of the adult human body, including the brain, spinal cord, back, thorax, abdomen, pelvis and perineum. The embryological aspects including Fertilization and placentation, development of each organ and system, from gametogenesis to birth, is discussed along with the gross anatomy. Clinical correlative sessions illustrate medically relevant normal and abnormal findings, and common congenital malformations are used to demonstrate mechanisms of teratogenesis. Computer-based tutorial programs and structured reviews are used to supplement the lectures and labs. (Lecture/Lab)

» top

Semester II

Our students value cooperation over competition. As part of Scientific Inquiry courses during the first year, small groups work together to sharpen analytical skills.

Courses during the second semester total 32 credit hours.

Objectives are to:

»Extend knowledge of the structure and function of the organ systems of the human body.
»Integrate knowledge in the basic, clinical and behavioral sciences.
»Integrate knowledge of scientific principles and analysis of clinical research.

 

MD236 Genetics

6 credits

This course provides the student with an understanding of the principles and concepts upon which current clinical genetic practice (diagnosis, treatment and counseling) is based. This course covers the genetics of human populations and introduces recent and ongoing discoveries so that their future applications may be understood. It builds upon the foundation of basic material introduced in histology. (Lecture)

» top

MD243 Biostatistics and Epidemiology

4 credits

Students master basic descriptive and inferential tools to understand statistical evaluation of research. This course will help students learn how to conduct epidemiologic investigation, how to critically review medical literature and how to use such information in a clinical environment. Students acquire a basic level of proficiency in epidemiologic principals and understand how to apply epidemiology in clinical practice. (Lecture)

» top

MD270 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

10 credits

The biochemical pathways of living organisms are studied to include the structure of biomolecular chemistry and an understanding of energy yielding processes and the transfer of genetic material. This course includes the study of the chemistry and reactions of constituents of living matter, including the carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids, vitamins, coenzymes and minerals; the chemistry and regulation of the reactions and processes of whole organisms; endocrinology; enzymology; nutrition; intermediary metabolism and biochemical mechanisms in selected disease states. Theory and application of classical and emerging technologies in biochemical lab analysis will be covered. (Lecture/Lab)

» top

MD282 Physiology

12 credits

The principles of human physiology are first studied then followed by an intensive overview of human organ system physiology to include neural, muscular, cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine, gastrointestinal and kidney physiological processes. The goals of this course are to enhance the student’s ability to critically analyze the cell biology mechanisms governing the functions of each system and to utilize physiological concepts in problem solving. Small group and the hands on lab component of the course reinforce lecture material. (Lecture/Lab)

» top

Semester III

Courses during the third semester total 37 credit hours.

Objectives are to:

»Develop a basic understanding of disease processes.
»Integrate knowledge of Basic Science to deepen understanding of the nervous system.
»Incorporate social and psychological aspects of medicine while developing clinical diagnostic skills and tools.

 

MD300 Medical Spanish - Elective

1 credits

This course will provide the basic communication skills for the medical practice. Its focus will be the usual verbal exchanges that happen in the patient-doctor relation. Emphasis will be placed in the most common mistakes that have the potential to impair the compliance with treatment and the overall trust in the relation, while keeping the broad aim of the course in improving the understanding of basic Spanish in the medical setting. (Lecture)

» top

MD311 Patient-Doctor Relations II

2 credits

Students will be introduced to physical examination skills in a systems-based format. Formal teaching of skills will be followed by the opportunity to practice and improve these skills in the Clinical Skills Center. Students will be evaluated using the objective structures clinical examination (OSCE) format.

» top

MD332 Microbiology & Immunology

12 credits

This course considers the characteristics and properties of microorganisms, their role in the disease processes and selected aspects of diagnosis and treatment of infectious disease. Other topics include the basic principles of bacteriology, mycology, parasitology, virology, immunology and microbial genetics, including cultural characteristics and pathogenic properties of medically important species of bacteria, fungi and viruses. This course covers the basic immunologic concepts of the cells and humoral products of the immune system. Lectures include the molecular biology and genetics of antigen recognition and immunoglobulin production plus the characteristics and detection of antigen-antibody reactions. The approach is to correlate these basic concepts with clinical manifestations of disease, the immunopathologic mechanisms of hypersensitivity, autoimmunity, transplantation, tumor immunology, hematology, reproduction, infectious diseases and immunodefiency. (Lecture/Lab)

» top

MD369 Neuroscience

9 credits

This course will include an interdisciplinary investigation of the physiology and the gross and microscopic structure of the brain, spinal cord and nervous system of humans. Aspects of brain energy metabolism, neurotransmitter synthesis and degradation, and psychopharmacology are presented. This course integrates anatomical and physiological material to assist the student in understanding common neurological disease processes. Laboratory exercises will provide slides and dissection of the human brain, spinal cord, and relevant structures. The student will be introduced to modern methods of neuroimaging, including CT scans and MRI. (Lecture/Lab)

» top

MD383 Behavioral Sciences and Ethics

13 credits

Abnormalities in human functioning are examined and students are introduced to psychiatric evaluation, nomenclature and clinical writing, and how to conduct a mental status evaluation. The course provides an in-depth study of the DSM-IV-R psychiatric diagnostic categories. These range from childhood disorders through geriatric dementia. Epidemiology and pathogenesis, differential diagnosis, course and prognosis, along with current treatment strategies are presented. Additionally, students participate in case-based discussions of ethical dilemmas facing today’s health care provider. Ethical analysis of moral reasoning is emphasized. Students are challenged to reflect on their personal values and moral obligations as physicians. (Lecture/Lab)

» top

Semester IV

Courses during the fourth semester total 30 credit hours.

Objectives are to:

»Deepen understanding of the basic mechanisms of common diseases.
»Refine the ability to assess and recognize the manifestations of common diseases.
»Understand the mechanisms involved in the treatment of various pathological states.

 

MD411 Patient-Doctor Relations III

6 credits

Students will begin to integrate the clinical skills that were introduced in the earlier courses in this series. Students will revisit history-taking and physical examination and will have the opportunity to practice their communication skills with patients, colleagues and attending physicians. As with previous courses, objective structures clinical examination (OSCE) standards will be used to evaluate students. (Lecture/Lab)

» top

MD468 Pharmacology

12 credits

This course builds upon the students’ understanding of pharmacology, providing practical experience of medical therapeutics in a case-based format. The fundamentals of pharmacokinetics and pharmaceutical preparations including drug actions and interactions are presented as well as adverse effects and pharmacological actions. The student must be able to understand the mechanism of action of common classes of medications and be able to evaluate basic pharmacological data. This course also includes all major classes of therapeutic medications used in clinical practice in the treatment of disease processes. The clinical component will provide students with the necessary background to practice rational drug therapy as it applies to clinical practice. (Lecture)

» top

MD482 Pathology I

12 credits

This first section of a two-semester comprehensive curriculum is an introduction to the responses of cells, tissues and organs to major disease processes. Lectures and laboratory demonstrations will introduce students to definitions, etiology, gross and microscopic lesions, and pathogenesis. Emphasis is placed on basic concepts and principles of disease processes. (Lecture/Lab)

» top

Semester V

Courses during the fifth semester total 31 credit hours.

Objectives are to:

»Refine skills needed to become a qualified and skilled clinician.
»Develop cognitive and analytical skills needed for successful completion of clinical clerkships.

 

MD552 Pathology II

10 credits

This second part of the Pathology curriculum focuses primarily on systemic pathology and disease processes. In this course, emphasis is placed on relating pathophysiological and biochemical abnormalities of disease processes to clinical signs and symptoms of disease. Pulmonary, cardiac, gastrointestinal, endocrine, rheumatic, orthopedic, renal, neurological and hematology organ systems are covered. Knowledge and the understanding of the etiology and pathogenesis of diseases is gained through the intense examination of clinical cases, gross material, selected microscopic slides, clinical laboratory data and X-rays. (Lecture/Lab)

» top

MD562 Clinical Therapeutics

2 credits

This course builds upon the students’ understanding of pharmacology, providing practical experience of medical therapeutics in a case-based format. The students, working individually and in teams, have the opportunity to participate in therapeutic decision-making in clinical cases, receive feedback regarding their decisions and benefit from discussions led by clinicians involved in the practical application of medical interventions in common disease states. This course is integrated with the other co-requisite courses to allow students to attain conceptual understanding of common medical conditions and provide them with the necessary skills and perspective for their transition to the clinical wards.

» top

MD582 Introduction to Clinical Medicine

8 credits

This team-taught course helps the student to prepare for hospital clerkships. Students will gain practical knowledge and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of patients. Following an integrated case-based curriculum, students will take histories and perform physical examinations on trained standardized patients. They will work individually and in teams to discuss differential diagnoses and investigation strategies and will use the information gained to formulate management and disposition plans. Throughout this course there is an emphasis on the need to listen and communicate effectively with colleagues, team members and, most importantly, the patients. The students will have an opportunity to spend time with the practicing physicians in a hospital/clinical setting. Students will be evaluated both formatively and by objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) standards. Practical knowledge, skills and abilities will be tested in an objective manner.

» top

MD591 Fundamentals of Clinical Sciences

11 credits

This course integrates all aspects of the first four semesters of Basic Sciences with the common clinical disease states students are likely to encounter in their clinical rotations. The key objective is to ensure that the underlying Basic Sciences concepts are understood by students as they transition to their clinical work. The format will be primarily online lectures with additional material provided through texts and access to relevant online materials. Question-review sessions will help students apply the concepts from the classroom discussions to clinical problem-solving.

» top