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Clinical Foundations of Medicine

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An exciting feature of the Genes to Society curriculum is the pairing of Anatomy and clinical skills training in the Clinical Foundations of Medicine (CFM) at the beginning of the students' med school experience. In CFM, the students work in small groups with classmates and their College's advisor to learn how to interview and examine patients in addition to being introduced to professional norms in clinical settings.

Course Goals

The Clinical Foundations of Medicine (CFM) course enables students to:

  • Build confidence and skill in listening to patients and guiding them as they share their story and medical history with the students,
  • Perform physical exam maneuvers and learn their significance and
  • Record one's findings and communicate them to colleagues.

Class time in CFM is largely allocated to small-group learning, with each group composed of five students and their College’s advisor. Each session includes demonstrations and/or practice opportunities with personalized feedback to each student. Because of an intensive team-based approach, attendance is required for every small-group session.

Course Structure

  • Every student is assigned to a Preceptor Group (five students + Preceptor) that meets for three hours weekly on a Monday or Wednesday.
  • Twice during Quarter I/II, students are scheduled for a second full afternoon of small-group learning of the psychiatric interview and mental status exam -- led by volunteer psychiatry faculty.
  • Independent, individualized learning activities are scheduled for most Thursday afternoons, with the majority of these sessions being optional and requiring one hour or less of a student’s time.

These activities include:

  • A cross-cultural, standardized patient (SP) interview, giving one-on-one practice immediately following the Preceptor Group session on this topic;
  • One-on-one meeting with Preceptor to review the videotape of this SP interview for student to critique his or her performance and receive feedback;
  • Physical exam teaching associate (PETA) sessions in groups of two students to practice and reinforce exam skills taught in Preceptor Groups. Students use a Web-based sign-up to elect this training activity and choose whether to participate in this activity. Most elect to have the extra practice.

Course Director

Photo of Dr. Robert Bruce Shochet, M.D.

Shochet, Robert Bruce, M.D.

Associate Professor of Medicine

Time Commitment and Course Length

The course runs for 16 weeks.
Typical weekly schedule for Clinical Foundations of Medicine

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
2 PM 1/2 class in small group work with college faculty   1/2 class in small group work Video Review,
PETA Practice, etc.
3 PM  
4 PM  
5 PM    

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Have a question? Want to learn more about Genes to Society? Contact the Office of Curriculum.

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