Our Cells to Society curriculum integrates foundational science and clinical medicine, and emphasizes active learning strategies. In parallel to the systems-based courses, students complete a Foundations of Clinical Medicine (FCM) course.
Phase 1 Pre-Clerkships
Integrated Systems 2
There are a wide range of research experiences on both the Charlottesville and Inova campuses.
There are a wide range of research experiences on both our Charlottesville and Inova campuses. Students receive funding to support their participation in the program. Work on these projects enables students to enhance research skills and explore research as a potential component of their future careers.
Numerous research experiences are available, covering essentially all departments within the medical school. As many as 94 students have participated in this program annually, gaining important exposure to the excitement, rewards, trials, and tribulations of biomedical research. Students receive fellowship payment for the program. Funding is provided by a combination of faculty grants, departmental funds, individual student awards, and dean’s office funds.
Summer Research Program
Learn more about how to get involved with the summer research program.
Medical Student Summer Research Program
Integrated Systems 3
Phase 1 Curriculum
As students begin their journey at the UVA School of Medicine, Orientation introduces them to curriculum, classmates, and the community, preparing them for success.
During Orientation, students meet their college dean and receive information about resources available in Student Affairs, Student Health, the Financial Aid Office, and the Health Sciences Library. Students are required to attend all sessions.
- Introduce the educational principles of the Cells to Society Curriculum
- Provide tools and resources that support students during the initial 18-month phase
- Focus on the educational theories underlying the Cells to Society curriculum’s emphasis on active learning and collaborative teamwork
- Enable students to complete an Insight Discovery inventory to better understand themselves and others and enhance interpersonal relationships
- Provide opportunities for team-building activities
- Conclude with the Brodie Gateway Dinner, where students meet their Foundations of Clinical Medicine coaches and co-mentors
FCM1: Foundations of Clinical Medicine 1
During the first 18 months of medical school, students learn the fundamentals of patient care developing skills such as:
- Patient history taking
- Doctor-patient relationship formation
- Physical examination
- Differential diagnosis
- Diagnostic reasoning
The goal of FCM 1 is to assist students in applying classroom learning in clinical care by presenting patient cases that challenge students to review and integrate key foundational material. Drawing on knowledge of biomedical and clinical disciplines developed across multiple organ systems and curricular threads, students prepare for clerkships and board exams by practicing clinical reasoning skills, developing differential diagnoses, explaining pathophysiology, and justifying plans for the management and treatment of patients.
Learn more about FCM
EPA: Entrustable Professional Activities Program
In the pre-clerkship phase, EPA assessments are completed during the Foundations of Clinical Medicine and Classrooms to Clinics courses. Assessments are completed by faculty who teach in FCM I and include assessments of activities learned in the FCM course such as:
- History taking
- Physical examination maneuvers
- Oral presentations
- Application of the principles of high value care in recommending and interpreting diagnostic and screening tests
- Self-directed learning skills of forming and investigating clinical questions to advance patient’s care.
Learn more about the EPA
PSP: Patient Student Partnership: Phase 1
As part of the Patient Student Partnership program in the Pre-Clerkship phase, students establish a doctor-patient relationship with their assigned patient. Students will:
- Get to know their patient on both a personal and medical level through narrative interviews
- Focus on developing their role as a patient advocate
- Learn how to navigate the EMR and conduct effective communication with their patient’s providers in the EMR and through email
- Practice clinical interviewing skills learned in Foundations of Clinical Medicine (FCM) with their patient
- Apply knowledge gained in other areas of the curriculum to their patient’s specific chronic condition
- Join patients for health system visits and procedures
SIM: Social Issues in Medicine
Social Issues in Medicine is a required course for all first-year medical students. During this course, students recognize and analyze the interrelationships between socio-cultural environments and the occurrence, prevention, and treatment of disease. Students also identify and nurture values that characterize a professional and humanistic practice of medicine and an ethic of service. This course employs the principles of service-learning. Students engage in classroom and community activities in order to address course learning objectives. Course format includes interactive content sessions with medical experts and community leaders, small group discussions, self-reflection, community service-learning, outside lectures, and a capstone project and community poster session.
Integrated Systems 1
C2S: Cells to Society
Cells to Society introduces students to the knowledge, skills, and values needed for the practice of medicine. By using diabetes as a model illness, Cells to Society demonstrates how patient care raises questions across multiple domains, including clinical and biomedical science, culture and society, public health and policy, and healthcare systems. During the course, students learn about the clinical, cellular, and societal features of diabetes by engaging in various learning experiences, such as patient interviews, small group work, case-based study, field trips, expert panel discussion, and team-based learning.
FOM: Foundations of Medicine
This five-week course introduces the scientific principles of physiology, genetics, cell biology, biochemistry, and pharmacology that underlie the practice of medicine. It also covers the developmental trajectory of the human life cycle and outlines how psychosocial issues can influence patients’ experiences with health and disease.
MIS: Microbes and the Immune System
This highly integrated six-week course combines the areas of microbiology, immunology, and infectious diseases. It also incorporates the topics of pharmacology, epidemiology, anatomy, histology, pathology, ethics, and rheumatology. The system includes a broad variety of teaching faculty spanning clinicians, clinician-scientists, and basic scientists.
CBC: Cells, Blood, and Cancer
This course begins with the organization of the human body, emphasizing human development and tissue composition. The course also covers the discipline of hematology, with a focus on the pathophysiology, clinical manifestations, disease course, and management of red blood cell disorders, diseases of coagulation, and selected white cell disorders. Finally, the unit ends with a deep dive into cancer as an application for foundational concepts in genetics, growth regulation, diagnosis, therapy, and clinical research. Instructors emphasize clinical application and the use of laboratory methods in addressing problems in clinical genetics, hematology, and oncology.
Integrated Systems 2
MSI: Musculoskeletal and Integument System
The Musculoskeletal and Integument System course introduces learners to the development, structure, function, and pathology of the musculoskeletal system (muscle, bones, and joints), the peripheral nervous system, and the integument (skin). The anatomy thread, which incorporates cadaveric dissection, begins in this course.
GI: Gastrointestinal (GI) System
The GI system introduces students to the principles of gastrointestinal and hepatic disease. The system is separated into three general categories: luminal, liver, and pancreaticobiliary processes.
Throughout the system, faculty engage learners by presenting foundational GI principles and link them to applications in clinical practice. Learners investigate normal and abnormal biologic mechanisms and interpret abnormal findings in various scenarios. Students become familiar with common digestive diseases and endoscopic procedures and interpret radiographic studies involving the GI system. Many learning exercises are oriented around case presentations in which students are asked to arrive at a diagnosis and formulate a treatment plan in a group setting. This approach prepares students to understand the diverse GI diseases they encounter in subsequent phases of the curriculum and future clinical practice.
MBB: Mind, Brain, and Behavior
This course outlines the complex interplay of the biological, psychological, and social factors in the genesis and maintenance of neurological and psychological health. Mind, Brain, and Behavior also covers the assessment and treatment of psychiatric and neurologic disorders.
Integrated Systems 3
CV: Cardiovascular System
The Cardiovascular System course introduces basic structures related to the heart and vasculature from the microscopic to the organ system level. Cardiovascular physiology, pathology, pathophysiology, and pharmacology are taught to explore the connections between structural changes, system malfunction, patient symptoms and treatment. Connections between the cardiovascular system and other organ systems are emphasized through active learning exercises. Cardiologists, pulmonologists, nephrologists, radiologists, and other specialists co-teach unique interactive laboratory simulations and other activities to immerse students in all aspects of cardiovascular disease, diagnosis, and treatment.
PLM: Pulmonary System
This course is taught in partnership with the cardiovascular system and renal system, culminating in an integrated Cardiovascular-Pulmonary-Renal week. Students receive a foundation in basic science principles of the respiratory/pulmonary system and are introduced to major pathophysiological concepts of pulmonary disease including the complexity of disease presentation and the nuances of clinical judgment. In both the classroom and the simulation center, learners experience clinical scenarios demonstrating escalating severity of illness.
The Respiratory System creates opportunities for students to consider healthcare within the context of societal issues such as access and the impacts of poverty, marginalization, and biases of systems and individuals.
RNL: Renal system
The third course in Integrated Systems III, the renal course covers basic science and clinical topics related to fluid and electrolyte and acid-base disturbances, medical and surgical diseases of the kidney, and transplantation. Interactive and classroom exercises are oriented around case presentations and problem sets in which learners are asked to arrive at a diagnosis and formulate a treatment plan in a small group setting.
ENDO REPO: Endocrine/Reproductive System
This course introduces the disciplines of obstetrics, gynecology, urology, and endocrinology. Students learn the principles of hormone secretion, signaling, and measurement; the anatomy, histology, and pathology of the male and female genitourinary tract; hormonal regulation of reproduction and disorders of fertility; basic concepts of pregnancy and disorders of gestation; and physiology and pathology of the thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, pituitary glands and pancreas including the physiology of glucose metabolism and the various aspects of diabetes mellitus.
C2C: Classroom to Clinics
In Classroom to Clinics, learners make the transition from classroom learning to patient care through the use of cases that challenge students to review and integrate key foundational material previously mastered during the pre-clerkship courses. Drawing on knowledge from biomedical and clinical science developed through the study of multiple organ systems and topics woven throughout the pre-clerkship curriculum, students prepare for clerkships and board exams by practicing clinical reasoning skills, developing differential diagnoses, explaining pathophysiology, and justifying plans for the management and treatment of patients.
Learning anatomy is an important component of our Phase 1 curriculum. In the anatomy lab, students perform cadaver dissection, view pro-sections, interact with anatomic models and utilize 3D computer software to achieve required learning objectives. Students also participate in Clinical Anatomy and Imaging Labs (CAIL) that provide them with opportunities to apply anatomical knowledge to clinical circumstances.
During these specialized sessions, Phase 1 students participate in procedures such as knee and shoulder arthroscopy, intubation, chest tube placement, joint
injections, fracture repair, and bronchoscopy using donors and equipment from the facility’s Surgical Skills Center. At the end of their Phase 1 curriculum, students design and direct the Anatomical Donor Convocation of Gratitude, a program honoring the donors and their invited family members.