ABOUT THE CURRICULUM
The Chicago Medical School's (CMS) undergraduate medical education offers a strong grounding in the sciences basic to medicine and assures competency in clinical skills and reasoning necessary for the practice of medicine. The CMS curriculum provides interprofessional interactions with a broad range of health professional students and practitioners from other colleges in the University. The educational program combines lectures, labs, small-group discussions, team-based learning, and opportunities for peer-to-peer learning. The learning management system, Desire to Learn, provides 24-hour-a-day access to materials, electronic databases and medical textbooks through Access Medicine. Students have early clinical experiences in the state-of-the-art evaluation and education center, through high-fidelity simulation and opportunities to participate with physician preceptors. The required junior clinical clerkships include medicine, surgery, family medicine/primary care, obstetrics/gynecology, psychiatry, pediatrics, neurology, and emergency medicine. The senior requirements include four weeks in a medicine, family medicine/primary care, or pediatrics subinternship and 32 weeks of approved electives - 14 of which must be completed at one of the school's primary affiliate hospital sites. The elective period gives students an opportunity to explore and strengthen their personal career interests.
There are performance expectations necessary to meet the principal requirements for the MD degree. Students must be evaluated as at least competent in each and every course, clerkship and elective. Most importantly, the CMS student is expected to develop and maintain the standards of ethical integrity, professional judgment, and reliability in personal relationships essential to the competent, honest, responsible practice of medicine, as evidenced by specific acts within the medical student role. Failure to do so may result in probation or dismissal. The grade awarded in a clinically oriented course or clerkship reflects not only cognitive performance but also achievement of the six core competencies of Chicago Medical School. For clinical clerkships, performance on each of these factors is reported separately and is accompanied with a narrative description of the student's performance in the clerkship. A student must complete all requirements of the first two years of medical school and pass the USMLE Step 1 before starting any junior year clinical clerkships. This must be accomplished within three calendar years from the time of first matriculation. All requirements for graduation must be completed within 5-1/2 calendar years from the time of first matriculation.
COMMITMENT TO PRIMARY CARE
CMS covers topics important to primary care throughout the training period. Multiple topics are integrated in the Essentials of Clinical Reasoning Course in the first and second years. Required interprofessional first year courses, HMTD 500 Interprofessional Teams and HMTD 501 Culture in Healthcare, second year Patient Safety, provide additional emphases on primary care. All students complete a required family medicine /primary care rotation in the junior year.
CMS students may engage in discovery or clinical research throughout their education. Fellowships are available to work with a faculty member on a research project full time for two months during the summer between the M1 and M2 years. One to three students per year participate in a year-out research program. These positions are usually funded with nationally competitive fellowships at external research-intensive institutions. Additional opportunities exist as M2 and M4 electives. The M2 elective is one 10-week term, while the M4 elective may be a maximum of 4 weeks.
M2 research projects have included: Use of DNA repair pathway to predict overall survival in head and neck cancer patients; Correlating the 3D/4D measurements with the Romberg Test for cervical stenosis; Effects of obesity on the short term results of total knee and total hip replacements; Analysis of interprofessional education and its importance in collaborative healthcare teams.
Sample M4 research projects are: Diagnosis, management and future developments in headache medicine; Hypertension in pregnancy; Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency in Multiple Sclerosis.
Two or three students graduate annually from the combined MD/PhD program. Students also may enroll in the MD with Distinction in Research program.