M.D. Program

Pre-Clerkship Curriculum

To assist students in successfully achieving the Einstein Educational Competencies, the 18-month pre-clerkship phase deliver a curriculum consisting of formal and informal programs that nurture students’ human values. Einstein believes that medical education should try to simulate the real world of medicine by fostering an atmosphere of collegiality and cooperation. We try to remove competition by grading all courses on a pass/fail basis.

The pre-clerkship education at Einstein provides students with the opportunity to acquire appropriate knowledge bases in biological and behavioral sciences, population sciences, and the mechanisms of disease. The program allows students to achieve competence in clinical examination and effective communication skills. Students learn how to apply knowledge and skills to diagnose, treat, and prevent human disease; to understand the importance of non-biological factors that influence health in diverse populations; and to advocate for patients.

As inter-disciplinary and inter-professional medicine gains a foothold in the world today, Einstein is implementing a longitudinal theme program that incorporates into its courses current events and changes in the medical delivery system.

The pre-clerkship curriculum structure consists of interdisciplinary courses that reflect major unifying themes and concepts of modern biology, linkages between different biomedical science disciplines, and applications of basic knowledge to diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of human disease as well as a rich exploration of health system science, health equity, and community service. For example, Molecular and Cellular Foundations of Medicine integrates concepts in cell biology, biochemistry, immunology, genetics, general physiology, and pharmacology. And Nervous System and Human Behavior brings together topics in neuroscience, neuropathology, psychopathology, and pharmacology of the central nervous system. Organ system courses integrate relevant organ system physiology, anatomic pathology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, radiology, and epidemiology. The Infectious Diseases course provides an integrated view of microbial biology and disease together with an understanding of pharmacologic interventions; anatomic pathology correlates of certain infectious diseases have also been incorporated into the course. Foundations for Epidemiology and Biostatistics introduces students to concepts and problems in population health, epidemiology, and clinical epidemiology, as well as offering a bootcamp in Biostatics. The Health Systems Sciences and Health Equity course provides students with the skills to understand the communities they work in and the medical training they will receive in the context of broader social, environmental, and institutional lenses. Service learning within our communities will further foster students’ knowledge of the structural determinants adversely affecting the wellness and access to care by the diverse individuals in the Bronx.

The pre-clerkship curriculum process focuses on case-based conferences, with group sizes ranging from 10 to 25, in almost all courses. Although conducted in different ways ranging from the problem-based to team-based learning to case method approach, all case conferences require students to prepare, collaborate, and participate. The aim is for students to work cooperatively toward the solution of clinical problems of varying complexity, with assistance from faculty facilitators, when necessary, and in so doing acquire and hone skills needed for lifelong self-directed learning.

About half of the pre-clerkship curriculum consists of case conferences, clinical encounters, and other interactive educational strategies. The mix of lecture- and student-centered strategies is a reasonably balanced one, providing individual students the opportunity to express their own learning style and achieve course objectives through the utilization of different learning approaches.

Although all our pre-clerkship courses expose students to clinical issues and problems in varying degrees, it is in the Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM) program where students specifically focus on acquiring the knowledge and skills needed for effective interaction with the patient and the health care system. Hallmarks of course are the clinical experiences and small-group discussions that enable students to develop an integrated approach to history-taking, interviewing skills, and the clinical examination. In addition to teaching knowledge and skills, the ICM program aims to nurture attitudes needed for respectful and compassionate interaction with patients and their families, help students to understand and appreciate the sociocultural context of illness and disease, and teach students the principles and concepts needed to deal effectively with issues and dilemmas in medical ethics.




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