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Essentials Core

Phases I and II


The Essentials Core (Phases I and II) is home to our medical students during their first 18 months of training. The goal of this Core is to provide students with a solid foundation in scientific principles and evidence-based inquiry that they can build on throughout their career, along with updates on existing and emerging technologies that are likely to impact the future of medicine. Of equal importance, this Core nurtures the ethical and humanistic qualities of our students by introducing them to compassionate, personalized patient care in their Foundations of Doctoring program.

The Essentials Core consists of nine interdisciplinary blocks, each with a unique theme that integrates the basic, clinical and social sciences. Each block is directed by clinical and basic science co-directors with the goal of presenting basic and social sciences in a clinical context. Most sessions are confined to the morning, allowing students afternoon study time and opportunities for electives and service activities. Lecture hours have been reduced to make way for interactive small groups, labs, team projects and Problem Based Learning activities. In addition, students begin to explore personal interests with a mentor through the Mentored Scholarly Activity program, and may choose to participate in Tracks that allow them to interact with like-minded faculty and students in an area of interest outside of the standard curriculum.

The leadership of the Essentials Core interacts closely and collaboratively with the leadership of the Phase III Clinical Core and Phase IV Advanced Topics Core as well as with the Directors of all affiliated programs. Students play a key role in curriculum oversight and policymaking and are active, valued members of the Essentials Core Block Director (ECBD) group. Under the umbrella of the ECBD, students have developed a USMLE Step 1 review guide and study plan that includes review sessions conducted by the Core faculty. ​​

Essentials Core Goals:

  • Provide recurring feedback opportunities for learners to assess their progress and adapt their learning trajectories to maximize short and long-term learning
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the need to engage in life-long learning as a means of keeping up on scientific advances. 
  • Describe and explain basic biomedical science facts and concepts and connect biomedical knowledge to clinically relevant aspects of health and disease
  • Develop and demonstrate clinical reasoning skills. 
  • Describe the use of scientific method to determine the causation of disease and to compare and contrast the efficacy of traditional and non-traditional therapies. 
  • Develop and apply critical judgment skills based on biomedical knowledge to solve problems of health and disease
  • Formulate and express ideas about basic science concepts and knowledge to peers and faculty facilitators
  • Demonstrate the ability to retrieve, evaluate, manage, and utilize biomedical information derived from electronic databases and other sources.  
  • Describe the epidemiology of common maladies within a defined population, and the systematic approaches useful in reducing the incidence and prevalence of those maladies. 
  • Foster intra-professional communication practices among medical students, faculty, and other health professionals in both small and large-group settings