During the two pre-clinical years, students acquire the building blocks of the foundational sciences that underlie medical practice and the skills required for clinical decision-making and patient interaction. The modular content of the curriculum is taught in lectures, labs with integrated clinical conferences, team-based learning, small group activities, and preceptor relationships. The first year of the curriculum is divided into systems-based blocks that run in parallel with the Essentials of Clinical Medicine (ECM) courses. The modules introduce students to Gross Anatomy, Biochemistry, Development, Genetics, Histology, Neuroscience, Physiology, and Psychiatry. The second year of the curriculum is divided into systems-based modules that run in parallel with the ECM course. In these modules, students are exposed to the topics of Medical Microbiology, Immunology, Pathology, and Pharmacology in the context of clinical medicine. Teaching strategies include interactive small groups, team-based learning, preceptor relationships, and lectures that are linked to course objectives. The Essentials of Clinical Medicine (ECM) courses are part of a four-semester program designed to equip students with the necessary knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors to perform successfully in the Phase 3 clerkships. ECM is organized into three “courses” (Physical Diagnosis and Ultrasound, Problem-based Learning and Foundations of Clinical Practice). In year 1, the Foundations of Clinical Practice course includes The Art of Doctoring, Population and Public Health, Evidence-based Practice, Problem-based Learning, and Physical Diagnosis, which build sequentially on one another, and are interwoven wherever possible with the core foundational science modules. In year 2, the components in the ECM Foundations of Clinical Practice are The Art of Doctoring, Population and Public Health, Evidence-based Medicine, Pediatrics, Women’s Health, Geriatrics, and Human Sexuality. ECM is designed to ensure a continuity of training for the student across the Phase 1 and 2 years in the areas of professionalism, clinical skills development, cultural competency, public health, evidence-based practice, clinical content, interdisciplinary collaborative teaching, and self-evaluation of performance.
On average, students are in scheduled activities for 26 hours per week during the first two years. Classes are held in the new, state-of-the-art J. Harold Harrison, MD Education Commons Building. On the Athens campus, classes are held at the University of Georgia Health Sciences Campus. Each student is required to purchase a computer capable of using relevant educational software. The Greenblatt Library maintains current journal subscriptions, electronic resources, online books, and provides access to many external databases. The Library provides a mobile application for catalog and database searching, building access hours, as well as the full Library website. Audiovisual learning aids are used in class and are available in the Library. Grading is pass/fall in the first year. With the exception of Problem-based Learning, grading in years two through four is A-F with a C constituting a passing grade. Passing the USMLE Step 1 is a requirement for promotion to the third year.
Patient contact begins during year one in the ECM course, which extends through year two. Year three consists of required core clerkships in Family Medicine (6 weeks); Internal Medicine (8 weeks); Neurology (4 weeks); Obstetrics/Gynecology (6 weeks); Pediatrics (6 weeks); Psychiatry (4 weeks); and Surgery (8 weeks). In addition to having an opportunity to do a 4-week elective in the third year, students participate in a 2-week intersession or mini-clerkship on the care of the chronically and terminally ill patient. Core clerkships take place at the Augusta University Health System, the Children’s Hospital of Georgia, the regional campuses, and various affiliated hospitals and community-based teaching sites throughout the state. Students may rotate to affiliated community hospitals for part of the core curriculum. During year four, students must complete 4 week clerkships in Adult Ambulatory Medicine and Emergency Medicine. In addition, students must complete a Critical Care selective plus an acting internship in either Family Medicine, Medicine, Neurology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, or Surgery. The remainder of the fourth year is for elective study that can include both clinical and research opportunities. In addition to passing USMLE Step 2, students must complete a total of four, 4-week electives to fulfill the requirements for graduation.
Longitudinal Integrated Curriculum:
Students who attend the Northwest Clinical Campus parallel track learn the core content of the third year in a longitudinal integrated clerkship model. This model uses the same MCG competency-based objectives and clerkship content in a longitudinal manner over the entire third year. The individual clerkship goals, objectives, and methods of assessment are the same as for the other campuses. Students take one elective during the second half of the third year, as long as they are showing satisfactory progress in the content area of the elective. Students return to a traditional block schedule during the fourth year.
Augusta University is enhancing the educational opportunities for medical students through the development of double degree programs and areas of concentration. These educational possibilities expand the academic diversity of our physician graduates who will enter the work force. Students choosing the option of a double degree program will receive the MD/MBA, MD/MPH, and MD/MS degree at the conclusion of the program of study, usually in 5 years.