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Curriculum and Course Descriptions

Graduate Certificate Premedical Program Curriculum

Fall Semester Courses: 17 credit hours

  • Neuroscience  (2)
  • Biochemistry  (3)
  • Medical Anatomy  (3)
  • Cell Physiology  (3)
  • Health Policy and Social Determinants of Health (3)
  • Nutrition (3)

Spring Semester Courses: 18 credit hours

  • Immunology (3)
  • Histology and Embryology (4)
  • Microbiology (3)
  • Field Seminar (2)
  • Research and Biostatistics (3)
  • Clinical Prevention and Public Health (3)

Course Descriptions

Course Title: Biochemistry
Course Number:  5104
Credit Hours: 3
This course emphasizes biochemical compounds, processes and systems, designed to provide the student with sufficient coverage of biochemical principles to facilitate learning and understanding in other biomedical and clinical science courses studied in a medical school environment to include the following topics:

  1. Protein Structure and Function
  2. Metabolic basis of disease
  3. Macromolecular synthesis (DNA, RNA, Protein, and Lipid)
  4. Energy generation, storage, and retrieval by the body
  5. Use biochemical concepts in the process of clinical problem solving
  6. Correlate biochemical concepts with clinical presentations of (clinical) cases
  7. Develop collegiality through teamwork with other students

Course Title: Medical Anatomy
Course Number:  5616
Credit Hours: 3
This course focuses on the gross anatomy of the human body with special emphasis on anatomical relationships, form/function relationships and how changes in anatomical forms can lead to disease states.  Material is presented in a systems-based format, similar to what is used in the VCOM D.O. Program. Surface anatomy, cross-sectional anatomy and various imaging modalities are utilized with laboratories also utilizing plastinated cadaveric material and digital anatomical models.

Course Title: Neuroscience
Course Number:  5719
Credit Hours: 2
Neuroscience will begin with a foundation of cellular physiology including the topics of membrane physiology, the ionic and molecular basis of resting and action potentials, synaptic transmission, the physiology of neurotransmitters, and post-synaptic response and cellular signaling.  This will build to the topics and motor, sensory and cognitive pathways with an emphasis on the associated anatomy and physiology.  Finally, organs of special senses and their associated pathways will be discussed. Throughout the course, particular emphasis will be placed on topics of clinical relevance.

Course Title: Cell Physiology
Course Number:  5718
Credit Hours: 3
This course is designed to provide essential concepts in medical physiology for future career in medicine and medical research. This information will be categorized into seven sections within one semester. Cell and muscle physiology, autonomic and endocrine regulation of body systems, cardiovascular, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, renal, and reproductive physiology will be covered. We will focus on normal physiological function of the major human organ systems and will discuss pathophysiology when it reinforces or highlights a particular physiological mechanism. Various approaches will be utilized including lectures, lecture notes, learning objectives, recommended readings from textbooks and primary sources, large and small group conferences, clinical case examples, and formal self-studies.

Course Title: Health Policy and Social Determinants of Health
Course Number:  5012

Credit Hours: 3
This three credit hour course provides students an understanding of the components of the United States’ healthcare system and how current and proposed policies may impact the costs, quality and accessibility of health care services. The students will be introduced to how health care is organized, delivered and reimbursed. Topics for discussion will include, but not necessarily limited to the uninsured, health care disparities, health care cost, the role of public health, the health care workforce, prevention. All topics, where applicable, will be discussed in the context of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) and the intended and potential unintended consequences of the legislation.  

Course Title: Clinical Prevention and Public Health
Course Number:  5220
Credit Hours: 3
The content of this course is derived from the Healthy People Curriculum Task Force convened by the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (APTR). The task force included representatives of seven health professional education associations representing allopathic and osteopathic medicine, nursing and nurse practitioners, dentistry, pharmacy, and physician assistants.  All topics within this course fall under the following three framework components as defined by the task force:

  1. Foundations of Population Health
  2. Clinical Preventive Services and Health Promotion
  3. Clinical Practice and Population Health

Course Title: Immunology
Course Number:  5308
Credit Hours: 3
This course emphasizes the principles and concepts of immunology as they pertain to clinical medicine, with a combination of didactic lectures and case-based and problem-based scenarios. Topics include cells and organs of the immune system, B and T cell development and activation, major histocompatibility complex, antigen processing and presentation, antibody diversity, tolerance, complement, cytokines, inflammation, hypersensitivity, vaccines, autoimmunity and immunodeficiency diseases, and host-pathogen interactions.

Course Title: Histology/Embryology
Course Number:  5410
Credit Hours: 4
The course will focus on the two sub-disciplines of anatomy not covered in the Fall Semester – histology (microscopic anatomy) and embryology (developmental anatomy).  Both disciplines will be covered with emphasis on general principles and concepts as they pertain to clinical medicine, with a combination of didactic lectures and laboratory exercises.

Course Title: Field Seminar
Course Number:  5512
Credit Hours: 2; Pass/Fail
Students will spend 2+ days in a rural or Appalachian setting interacting with populations who have limited access to basic health care due to remote site location, poverty, or other factors. Interactions may include but not be limited to public health, adult health education and/or a free clinic.  Journal reflections and case study reports will comprise a portion of this course.

Course Title: Human Nutrition
Course Number: 5240

Credit Hours: 3
This course includes advanced principles of the biochemistry, anatomy and physiology related to nutrition and focuses on the role of nutrition science in an individual’s diet and health. Topics include macro- and micronutrients; digestion, absorption, and metabolism; body composition and weight management; vegetarianism; chronic disease; life cycle nutritional needs; food safety; and environmental issues. An evaluation of personal dietary habits using current dietary guidelines and nutritional assessment methods will also be completed to help students assess their own nutritional health.

Course Title: Microbiology
Course Number:  5818
Credit Hours: 3

Students will learn the structure, morphology, classification, isolation, identification, physiology, and life cycle of viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. The course will focus on cell biology, genetics, virology, bacteriology, mycology, parasitology, and interactions with mammalian hosts. Examples will be given from medically important organisms with reference to the diseases they cause, their epidemiology and laboratory diagnosis. Minimal detail will be given to the clinical aspect of microbial or parasitic diseases or to the host’s immune response during an infection.

Course Title: Research and Biostatistics
Course Number:  5920
Credit Hours: 3
Students will learn research techniques and biostatistics routinely used in clinical, biomedical and epidemiological research. Background material on the methods will be presented in lectures, and class will breakup to work in groups for discussion and group report preparation.  Data from the international component of the Field Experience will be utilized for analysis and generation of a poster worthy of presentation at a national professional meeting.