Physician Assistant Studies and Services

  • Curriculum

    Semester 1- Preclinical Activity

    Foundations Course

    The Foundations course incorporates genetics, embryology, molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology and histology. Students will learn the molecular events required for cellular life and describe how cells grow and interact to form the basic tissues of the human body. This course provides the necessary framework to begin to explore the six Mechanisms of Health and Disease.

    Medical Gross Anatomy

    In Medical Gross Anatomy students learn to identify the various components comprising the human body and how their structures and locations relate to their functions. This includes complete dissection of the human body. The course provides students with much of the new language they will need to communicate accurately and specifically with patients and other physicians.

    Clinical and Professional Skills I

    Clinical and Professional Skills (CAPS) is one of three longitudinal strands used to deliver the integrated undergraduate medical education curriculum at Carver College of Medicine. The goal of CAPS is to provide students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for professional development and clinical excellence including the sense of inquiry and lifelong habits of skill acquisition, self-assessment and reflective practice. CAPS incorporates the developmental process of learning by offering sequentially more challenging experiences across the four years, repeated practice opportunities, observation and feedback, and self-directed learning and reflection. Students will learn the art and science of medicine through an integrated approach with other strands and in a way that is similar to how they will practice medicine in the future. 

    While enrolled in CAPS I, students will be introduced to concepts of clinical reasoning, communication, physical examination and evidence-based clinical practice as well as the principles of biomedical ethics. The Longitudinal Clinical Mentor (LCM) Program allows early clinical interactions and helps place classroom experiences into the context of patient care. Students will also interact with students from other health sciences colleges as a way to begin to explore the inter-professional approach to caring for patients.

    Medicine and Society I

    Medicine and Society (MAS) consists of three consecutive, integrated courses in which students learn about disease prevention, health promotion services, public health, epidemiology, health services organizations and delivery, and community dimensions of medical practice. During MAS I, students will be introduced to social determinants of health, investigate the influence and impact of culture and the community on healthcare, learn about community resources, and apply health and risk assessment to individual patients and themselves.

    During MAS I, students will be introduced to social determinants of health, investigate the influence and impact of culture and the community of health care, learn about community resources, and apply health and risk assessment to individual patients and themselves.

    Mechanisms of Health and Disease I

    The Mechanisms of Health and Disease (MOHD) curricular strand is comprised of six multi-system mechanisms. MOHD I and III cover the mechanisms of Oxygenation, Metabolism, and Genetics/Development.

    • Oxygenation is the story of how molecular oxygen is acquired from the atmosphere, crosses membranes, binds to hemoglobin and is pumped through the cardiovascular system to individual tissues and cells. It also includes the generation and disposal of carbon dioxide as well as other gases. Ischemia is the result of inadequate delivery of oxygen with resultant damage to or dysfunction of tissue.
    • Metabolism is the story of appetite, food consumption, digestion within and absorption from the gastro-intestinal tract and its microbiome, and transport to the liver and other tissues. It is also the story of how metabolic products, medications and other substances are detoxified and excreted via the liver, GI tract and kidney. At the cellular level this story includes how the body generates energy-rich phosphate compounds in a tissue specific fashion to fuel the energy-requiring processes the body uses to maintain homeostasis, grow, reproduce, and move. Hormonal modulation of these homeostatic processes is an important aspect of this mechanism. Disorders of these processes can result in disruption of internal homeostasis.
    • Genetics/Development is the story of development from conception through embryonic development and birth through childhood to adulthood and aging. At the cellular level it encompasses how individual cells reproduce into fully differentiated multicellular tissues. Hormonal modulation of these processes is an important aspect of this mechanism. Disorders of growth or division of cells are the basis for congenital disorders and cancers.

    Semester 2- Preclinical Activity

    Clinical and Professional Skills II

    Clinical and Professional Skills is one of three longitudinal strands used to deliver the integrated undergraduate medical education curriculum at Carver College of Medicine.  The goal of CAPS is to provide students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for professional development and clinical excellence including the sense of inquiry and lifelong habits of skill acquisition, self-assessment and reflective practice. CAPS incorporates the developmental process of learning by offering sequentially more challenging experiences across the four years, repeated practice opportunities, observation and feedback, and self-directed learning and reflection.  Students will learn the art and science of medicine through an integrated approach with other strands and in a way that is similar to how they will practice medicine in the future.

    During CAPS II concepts of clinical reasoning from the previous course will be reinforced and additional elements of clinical reasoning will be introduced and practiced during interactions with standardized patients as well as during LCM clinical visits. The variety of experiences will also help students gain a deeper appreciation for issues pertaining to biomedical ethics. As part of inter-professional education students will focus on the strengths as well as barriers to providing comprehensive interdisciplinary patient care.

    Medicine and Society II

    Medicine and Society (MAS) consists of three consecutive, integrated courses in which students learn about disease prevention, health promotion services, public health, epidemiology, health services organizations and delivery, and community dimensions of medical practice. During MAS II, students will focus on public health and epidemiology, with particular attention to screening, global health, and environmental hazards.

    During MAS II, students will focus on public health and epidemiology, with particular attention to screening, global health, and environmental hazards.

    Mechanisms of Health and Disease II

    The Mechanisms of Health and Disease (MOHD) curricular strand is comprised of six multi-system mechanisms. MOHD 2 begins to cover the mechanisms of Immunology/Inflammation, Locomotion/Integument, and Neuropsychiatry.

    • Immunology/Inflammation is the story of how the body differentiates self from non-self, and how it maintains homeostasis in the face of non-self. Included are the role of the microbiome, in which self and non-self live symbiotically and influence immune maturation as well as the disordered recognition of self. Disruptions within this mechanism are the basis for infectious diseases as well as a number of rheumatologic conditions.
    • Locomotion/Integument is the story of the erect body and its coordinated movement. Included is the integument and its roles in demarcating self from the external environment, thermostasis and immunology. Disorders of this mechanism result in impaired mobility and protection from the external environment.
    • Neuropsychiatry is the story of the complex neural networks that enable rapid reception and transmission of sensory information; its interpretation, processing and integration; and equally rapid transduction into an appropriate response. Included are the higher functions central to what it means to be human (cognition, memory, emotion) and problems encountered in living. This includes interactions within families and larger social groups. At the cellular level this mechanism includes ion channels, neural and neuromuscular junctions, and neurotransmitters.

    Mechanisms of Health and Disease III

    The Mechanisms of Health and Disease (MOHD) curricular strand is comprised of six multi-system mechanisms. MOHD 3 continues to cover the mechanisms of Oxygenation, Metabolism, and Genetics/Development.

    • Oxygenation is the story of how molecular oxygen is acquired from the atmosphere, crosses membranes, binds to hemoglobin and is pumped through the cardiovascular system to individual tissues and cells. It also includes the generation and disposal of carbon dioxide as well as other gases. Ischemia is the result of inadequate delivery of oxygen with resultant damage to or dysfunction of tissue.
    • Metabolism is the story of appetite, food consumption, digestion within and absorption from the gastro-intestinal tract and its microbiome, and transport to the liver and other tissues. It is also the story of how metabolic products, medications and other substances are detoxified and excreted via the liver, GI tract and kidney. At the cellular level this story includes how the body generates energy-rich phosphate compounds in a tissue specific fashion to fuel the energy-requiring processes the body uses to maintain homeostasis, grow, reproduce, and move.   Hormonal modulation of these homeostatic processes is an important aspect of this mechanism. Disorders of these processes can result in disruption of internal homeostasis.
    • Genetics/Development is the story of development from conception through embryonic development and birth through childhood to adulthood and aging. At the cellular level it encompasses how individual cells reproduce into fully differentiated multicellular tissues. Hormonal modulation of these processes is an important aspect of this mechanism. Disorders of growth or division of cells are the basis for congenital disorders and cancers. 

    Summer

    After the first two semesters, there will be an interim component of the curriculum which consists of course work specific to PA training such as PA licensure, professional practice laws and regulations, credentialing, professional issues, history and trends.  Students will also complete 4 weeks of clinical training.   

    Semester 3- Preclinical Activity

    Clinical and Professional Skills III

    Clinical and Professional Skills (CAPS) is one of three longitudinal strands used to deliver the integrated undergraduate medical education curriculum at Carver College of Medicine. The goal of CAPS is to provide students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for professional development and clinical excellence including the sense of inquiry and lifelong habits of skill acquisition, self-assessment and reflective practice. CAPS incorporates the developmental process of learning by offering sequentially more challenging experiences across the four years, repeated practice opportunities, observation and feedback, and self-directed learning and reflection. Students will learn the art and science of medicine through an integrated approach with other strands and in a way that is similar to how they will practice medicine in the future.

    CAPS III will help students learn more advanced clinical reasoning skills through focused patient encounters and interactions with special patient populations. An emphasis will be placed on the students’ ability to integrate and use concepts from the other curricular strands required for cost-conscious, patient-centered, interdisciplinary care.

    Medicine and Society III

    Medicine and Society (MAS) consists of three consecutive, integrated courses in which students learn about disease prevention, health promotion services, public health, epidemiology, health services organizations and delivery, and community dimensions of medical practice. During MAS III, students will learn about health services organization and delivery, with a particular emphasis on community dimensions of medical practice and patient safety.

    Mechanisms of Health and Disease IV

    The Mechanisms of Health and Disease (MOHD) curricular strand is comprised of six multi-system mechanisms. MOHD 4 continues to cover the mechanisms of Immunology/Inflammation, Locomotion/Integument, and Neuropsychiatry.

    • Immunology/Inflammation is the story of how the body differentiates self from non-self, and how it maintains homeostasis in the face of non-self. Included are the role of the microbiome, in which self and non-self live symbiotically and influence immune maturation as well as the disordered recognition of self. Disruptions within this mechanism are the basis for infectious diseases as well as a number of rheumatologic conditions.
    • Locomotion/Integument is the story of the erect body and its coordinated movement. Included is the integument and its roles in demarcating self from the external environment, thermostasis and immunology. Disorders of this mechanism result in impaired mobility and protection from the external environment.
    • Neuropsychiatry is the story of the complex neural networks that enable rapid reception and transmission of sensory information; its interpretation, processing and integration; and equally rapid transduction into an appropriate response. Included are the higher functions central to what it means to be human (cognition, memory, emotion) and problems encountered in living. This includes interactions within families and larger social groups. At the cellular level this mechanism includes ion channels, neural and neuromuscular junctions, and neurotransmitters.

     Mechanisms of Health and Disease IV Keystone

    The Keystone course sits at the transition between classroom instruction in the mechanisms of health and disease and clinical practice. In this course the foundational information from the mechanisms of health and disease sequence will be approached from the perspective of what is commonly encountered in the clinics. Students can expect to sharpen their skills with respect to application of that information to make diagnostic and management decisions of common important clinical problems.

    Clinical Semesters

    The second major component of the curriculum consists of supervised hands-on clinical training at the bedside on in-patient units, in outpatient clinics and in communities throughout the state. Course work specific to PA training while learning clinically will also be covered such as PA licensure, professional practice laws and regulations, credentialing, professional issues, history and trends. It should be noted that this is not an exhaustive list. This period of training begins in January of the second year and extends until graduation.

    Students will complete 4 week of professional and clinical skills training prior to the start of the clinical year, 4 weeks of an early clinical experience, followed by 44 weeks of clinical training.

    Clinical Core

    The primary goals of clinical training are to provide students with: a breadth of clinical exposure across numerous clinical disciplines; advanced exposure in the discipline(s) of the student’s choice; acquisition and mastery of a fund of general medical knowledge (defined by each of the clinical disciplines) that builds on the principles introduced during the first 18 months; and competency in a broad array of clinical skills. These clinical skills range from patient and interprofessional interactions, exemplified by history-taking and performance of the physical examination, through attitudes —compassion, interest, independence, ethics — to the manual dexterity inherent in sterile technique, phlebotomy, suturing and other procedures uniquely associated with the PA profession.

    Students must complete clerkships in multiple clinical disciplines as one means of ensuring both breadth and depth of clinical exposure. Rotations are designed to increase the students experience with practicing clinicians, the array of experiences encountered in the community, ambulatory and hospital settings, the evaluation of patients in these settings, the use of community and healthcare resources and their coordination to provide a team approach to patient health care, and the use and mastery of the problem focused history and physical examination.

    Core rotations include:

    • Family Medicine
    • Internal Medicine
    • Emergency Medicine
    • Obstetrics and Gynecology
    • Pediatrics
    • Psychiatry
    • Surgery

    Students also have multiple electives to choose from.

    Capstone Course

    The PA Capstone component of the M.P.A.S. curriculum requires the student to select a pertinent health topic issue, complete a thorough literature search, and draw conclusions based on the data/evidence. These findings are then presented in one of three ways: as a written clinical paper for submission to a medical journal, in the form of a poster with an accompanying abstract for submission at a professional meeting, or as a PowerPoint presentation to their colleagues and faculty.