The Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine has a long, proud history of integrating the values of the medical school; diversity, commitment to the study and practice of medicine, research, advocacy and social justice into the curriculum. Starting with the first week of medical school, students begin to learn about Boston neighborhoods, demographics about their patients, the health disparities that may exist, and the resources available to their patients and them when providing clinical care. The mission of service is fundamental to our institutional identity and this has been the case since the founding of our programs.
PISCEs (Principles Integrating Science, Clinical Medicine, and Equity)
PISCEs is a longitudinal integrated course during the preclerkship phase of the curriculum that prepares students with the medical knowledge needed to care for patients. It integrates foundational science, pathophysiology, and disease management. The course is broken into three foundational modules followed by eight systems-based (e.g., cardiovascular, neuro/psych) modules. Woven into each of these modules are longitudinal threads that include oncology, infectious disease, anatomy, microbiology, pharmacology, and pathology, as well as the school’s health equity curricular themes. The last 10 weeks of the preclerkship curriculum, called the Integration Weeks, focus on integrated cases based on the Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine Core patient presentations that deliberately revisit prior foundational, clinical, and social science content in patient cases to help students consolidate and integrate the material. The cases begin with a patient presenting to a clinic or ER and then evolve over the course of the week. The case patient’s signs, symptoms, labs, and imaging enable students to apply what they have learned in a clinical context to prepare them for how they will subsequently see clinical information and apply medical knowledge during their clinical clerkships. The cases will be based on real patient cases that represent the unique populations at our primary teaching hospital (Boston Medical Center), and will highlight knowledge and skills needed to address our curricular key themes and populations. Finally, students collaborate in small groups to solve clinical problems, simulating the clinical team in medical practice and review, as well as prepare for the USMLE Step 1 exam. The PISCEs curriculum uses multiple instructional design strategies to support active learning, peer learning, and team development.