Preclinical Electives List
Beyond the Basics
Preclinical electives are open to all first- and second-year medical students. These electives are announced to students during the academic year. Students are active participants in the design and implementation of many of these electives. Students choose to participate based on subject area and pedagogical approach (didactic sessions, seminar discussion and/or community service). These electives may be associated and coordinated with Scholarly Concentration activities. All preclinical electives are graded Satisfactory/No Credit.
Over the past decade a major debate centered on the use of race and ethnicity in medicine has emerged. One interesting dimension of this debate is the disconnect between the published work in the social science/humanities and in biomedicine. What precisely do we mean by race? What notions of race are being incorporated into scientific studies? What are the consequences of these varying perspectives on race for the practice of medicine and specifically for understanding the causes of health disparities? How do we avoid reifying race in the course of activism around health disparities? This course will explore the above questions and examining evidence and drawing on both the primary scientific literature and recent books in medical anthropology, history of medicine, and sociology. Enrollment limited to 15. This elective is appropriate for second and fourth year students and it will carry two weeks credit for fourth year students. The course can be completed concurrently with clinical electives. Mandatory pass/fail.
Dates: Tuesdays 5:30-7:30, September 15, 2015-October 27, 2015 (NO CLASS September 22)
For questions, please contact Professor Lundy Braun (Lundy_Braun@brown.edu)
Integrative Medicine: From Alternative to Mainstream is open to PLME students, medical students, and then others as space permits. Maximum 14 students. This elective will be held on Wednesdays, 3:45 - 5:15 pm. Class to being Sept. 11
The course provides medical students an opportunity to learn about the bio-psychosocial model of cancer with an emphasis on patient advocacy in the preclinical years. There are weekly lectures on cancer basics and treatment options. Each student will also be matched with an individual living with cancer. The students will attend scheduled appointments with the patients at the hospital or attend support group meetings in the community.
The course provides students, proficient in the Chinese language, with working knowledge of Mandarin, relevant to medical practice in order to better communicate with and serve Chinese-speaking patients.
This course is designed for first and second-year medical students with intermediate knowledge of conversational Spanish. You will gain the vocabulary necessary to speak competently in Spanish about a wide range of medical specialties in order to communicate more effectively with Spanish-speaking patients and their families. You will develop a critical Spanish lexicon and the language skills necessary for conducting medical interviews based on the medical school's doctoring checklists. Lastly, you will gain experience presenting medical information to patients in a meaningful way. (Pre-requisite: one year of college-level Spanish.)
This elective will explore how social, cultural, economic, and legal factors contribute to health disparities and the role of physicians in advocating for their patients and for policy change. Through facilitated discussion and interdisciplinary problem-solving with law students from Roger Williams University School of Law, students will learn and practice interprofessional medical-legal approaches to the complex health and legal needs of vulnerable patients and populations.
This course aims to provide students with a broad understanding of the U.S. healthcare system, structured around issues of access to care. Topics include economics of healthcare and private health insurance; Medicare and Medicaid; pharmaceutical industry; hospitals and how they work; and health care advocacy. A case presentation by students is required.
This course provides medical students an opportunity to learn about the importance and role of a multidisciplinary approach to the diagnosis and management of fetal conditions, as well as to learn about the current options in fetal diagnosis and treatment, both noninvasive and invasive.
This course seeks to extend the consideration of bioethics beyond its usual boundaries by engaging students in a semester-long discussion about health, science, ethics, and power. How do these terms relate to each other, and how is each shaped by shared and/or contested cultural values? How do our deeply-held but historically-specific ideas about the family, nation, gender, money, race, the market, etc. affect how we conceptualize and attempt to solve health problems? What are the most effective ways to improve health on the local, national and/or global level? We use readings in bioethics, cultural theory, public health and history as a basis for addressing these and other questions. The topics we focus on include: the use of human research subjects, the corporate use and corruption of science, health and development, and the science of gender and reproduction.
Mindfulness practice improves working memory, concentration, skillful communication, and capacity for empathy and compassion. It also decreases circulating cortisol, genomic expression of inflammatory mediators, and is the only proven intervention for burnout. Mindfulness practice begins with exercises designed to cultivate perfect voluntary control over one's own attention - attain "mastery of the mind." Participants will become proficient in these exercises, consider and discuss the clinical implications of mindfulness practice, and gain a framework to continue mindfulness practice throughout medical school.
This elective's goal is for Alpert Medical School students to learn more about the intricate healthcare needs of individuals who do not fall into gender or sexuality majorities. While the needs of this underserved and vulnerable population are becoming more recognized, the understanding within medical practices is far from adequate. Additionally, as it stands, medical curriculum does little to recognize the needs of this increasingly visible community. Our class will delve into these often undiscussed health concerns with a lens that encompasses the relevant scientific, clinical and activist issues. We believe that students completing this elective will be more sensitive to, mindful of, and competent in providing for the healthcare needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and intersexed patients. We hope that our class will actively engage students in productive dialogue and will contribute to our medical school's ethos regarding the development of competent, ethical and human physicians.
This preclinical elective is designed to increase early clinical exposure to surgery for junior medical students. The elective provides opportunities for students to participate in the operating room, on surgery rounds, and in surgical clinics, as well as attend conferences, review literature, learn surgical skills, and participate in seminars with residents and faculty. The elective is overseen by surgical attendings and directed by surgical residents, who establish one-on-one mentoring relationships with enrolled medical students.
This course provides students with cross-cultural perspectives on medical topics such as aging in the U.S. and Germany contexts.
The goal of this intensive two-week seminar is to bring pre-medical and medical students from Brown and Tubeingen together to discuss ethical issues of medical practice from a comparative perspective.
The rapidly evolving field of genetics demands physician facility in utilizing genetic and genomic information to optimize patients' medical care. However, many doctors feel unprepared "to tackle" genetics (1.7%); and research suggests that 48% of patients are dissatisfied with their genetic medical care. This course explores 1.) the role of genetics in a range of medical fields - from neurology to oncology, pediatrics, ophthalmology, endocrinology, and hematology, and 2.) the current issues on the field, including public policy and ethics surrounding genetic testing/diagnosis, data sharing, false positives/negatives, and insurance coverage; genetic and reproductive counseling; the history of and modern day Eugenics; and genetic-testing in underserved populations.
Creating theater and practicing medicine are both deeply human endeavors. Both fields confront real bodies in a specific space and time; both fields transform partial narratives and dialogue into new, crafter narratives that inform, empower, and heal others. By bringing together two communities - Brown medical students and Brown/Trinity M.F.A. Actors - this course will explore how the tools of theater can make better doctors and how the skills and perspectives of medicine can make better artists.
The course is an overview of the field of CAM. The syllabus evolves as clinicians and researchers sign on to participate, so there is nothing in stone. We will open the course with a discussion of CAM in the United States. This will be followed by discussions of different ways of thinking about illness, from reductionism to holism. Other topics will be acupuncture, Chinese diagnosis, mind-body medicine, bodywork, homeopathy, narrative medicine, functional medicine, and the role of research in CAM. Students will be asked to commit to a self-care project (eg. journal writing, meditation, yoga, and dietary change) for the semester. Students will need to produce a brief write-up about their experience with self-care. Additionally, students will be asked to prepare and deliver a brief presentation on a topic of their choice. Readings will be posted as lectures are planned through the semester.
For over four centuries, opera with its extravagance and melodrama has acutely captured our evolving understanding of disease processes from tuberculosis in Puccini’s La Bohème to HIV/AIDS in Larson’s rock opera Rent. While opera serves to prepare audiences emotionally for their own inevitable demise through staging poignant stories of human disease and mortality, it has also instilled ongoing stereotypes and stigma with which we label both patients and their doctors. In this unique interdisciplinary course, faculty from the medical, music, and foreign language departments will facilitate active discussion of topics ranging from “Tuberculosis and the Opera Heroine” to "Orthopedic Disorders in Opera“ to "Wozzeck: A Study in Medical Ethics.” Drawing upon live performances, video clips, scientific and literary articles, this course will provide students with an overview of the historical and contemporaneous understandings of diseases and the role of the physicians who treat them.
Through its intrinsic presence in our daily life, design has the capacity to influence health and well-being. The act of design is a fundamental response to create solutions that enhance our way of life, and it has shaped the world around us—from the built environments we live and work in, to the streets and highways that connect us, to the tools and products we use. As a result, design affects our experiences and behaviors on a variety of different scales. By enlisting design to support human health, designers possess a potent tool to tackle complex healthcare issues that we face today.
As part of a developing partnership between AMS and the Rhode Island School of Design, this series of immersive workshops will expose students to the variety of ways that design can influence health. By actively bringing together medical and design students, this elective will also promote collaboration and innovation in advancing health through design and inform a new methodology for health care problem solving. Topics include: Hospital Soundscapes; Product Design and the Iterative Process; EMRs and the Patient/Doctor Interaction; Toys for Rehabilitation; Public Health and Public Spaces; Prosthetics; Healthcare Design for an Aging Population; and Design and Global Health.
Seminar hours: 16.5
The Healer’s Art course enables the formation of a genuine community of inquiry between students and physicians that encourages an in-depth sharing of experience, beliefs, aspirations and personal truths. Students and faculty
participate together in a discovery model that transcends the divisiveness of expertise to explore service as a way of life. The process based curriculum takes a highly innovative, interactive, contemplative and didactic approach to
enabling students to uncover and recognize the personal and universal meaning in the daily work of medicine.
The course hopes to make students capable of identifying and addressing religious concerns that a patient may have. It also hopes to identify how physician's came to be uncomfortable addressing religion. Additionally, there will be time for student's to practice their skills.
The field of sports medicine has seen substantial growth in recent years. This elective aims to introduce preclinical medical students to the multidisciplinary nature of sports medicine, with a focus on career opportunities and the medical and orthopedic care of athletes. The course will include interactive discussions and didactic sessions given by a variety of primary care sports medicine and orthopedic faculty members on topics ranging from sports-related concussion to performance-enhancing drugs. Students will also have the opportunity to practice musculoskeletal exam skills and attend an athletic event with one of several team physicians. A final project will allow students to identify, investigate, and present a controversial clinical topic in sports medicine.
Despite having the 7th highest teen pregnancy rate in the United States, Rhode Island has no formalized sexual education course for its middle school or high school students. Sex Ed by Brown Med students provide interactive and engaging lessons on sexual health topics at Calcutt Middle School in Central Falls, an area that has been flagged by the CDC as an area needing school-based HIV/STD Prevention and School Based Surveillance. Calcutt Middle School is the only public middle school in Central Falls, and so the majority of teenagers in the area will at some point, matriculate through our program.
Our curriculum will provide the lessons, training sessions, materials, and framework upon which students will not only become better educators, but also become central stakeholders in the sexual health outcomes of our surrounding community.
The aim of this class is to improve one's' abilities to communicate with visual tools, whether it is to describe an operation, a condition or a treatment plan. The course discusses medical illustration and its place in medicine and art; instruction in the basic skills of drawing, including shapes, perspective, shading, shadowing and texture; analysis of point of view, technique, and key elements to best illustrate a medical problem; in- class exercises and home assignments; and critiquing by fellow students and art students.
More detail about the course is, and will increasingly be available on the course's web site
Art and Healing is a preclinical elective offered this semester that covers topics related to autism and developmental disability. It also aims to foster a strong one-on-one relationship between medical students and high-functioning young adult patients with developmental delay and a secondary psychiatric diagnosis from the Center for Autism and Developmental Disability. We will meet 8 times throughout the semester. Each session will start with a brief lecture on a different aspect of the disability, and the remaining time will be spent with the mentees doing art projects.
Medical students considering a career in addiction medicine, or interested in topics surrounding addictions- why people become addicted, what effect commonly encountered drugs have on the human body, what implications addictions have for comorbid disorders, and what we can do about it.
Students will accompany a street outreach team (psychiatrist case worker/outreach worker) to assist in the engagement and care of vulnerable individuals. This typically occurs on Monday evenings and two students may join at a time. The aim is to introduce students to the unique challenges faced by homeless individuals and to cover topics related to trauma, substance use, social determinants of health, health care reform, and the need for innovative models. Topical discussions will occur monthly.
Every cell has a sex. But it wasn’t until 2015 that NIH began requiring the consideration of sex as a biological variable in clinical research. Indeed, prior to then, it was routine for such research to be conducted on male cells only, but for the results to be applied to both men and women, sometimes with disastrous results. This course will provide an overview of the emerging discipline of sex and gender-based medicine and highlight some of its most salient contributions, from cardiovascular health to addiction. Students will be challenged to think about the ways in which sex and gender affect their future patients’ health and gain the skills necessary to provide patient-specific care down the road.
The course is designed to heighten the awareness for medical students regarding the clinical care for pregnant women and their newborns. Students increase their knowledge of medical needs as well as the social, economic, and cultural issues that are unique to this population. MOMS is a place where students develop an individual student/patient relationship and follow the medical regiment of a pregnant patient, attend diagnostics tests, doctor's appointment, and the birthing process itself.
The elective exposes students to medical device technologies and their role in contemporary medicine. The course consists of monthly sessions on different commonly used biotechnology devices. For each topic, we hope to have a clinician, a patient, and someone who develops the technology. Specifically, the goals of the elective are to: 1) Understand the major features of the biomedical device from the perspective of its role in replacing/supplementing physiological needs; 2) Gain insight into a clinician's role in selecting a device, and educating a patient about its purpose/use; 3) Develop an appreciation for how a biomedical device may impact/change the day-to-day life of a patient.
The Wilderness Medicine preclinical elective is eight evening sessions covering various topics in wilderness medicine. Topics include: an overview of wilderness medicine with basic wilderness first aid, marine injuries and illnesses, extremity injuries, hypothermia, altitude sickness, infectious diseases, low resource medicine, current wilderness medicine research and marine and land rescue. Typical meetings will begin with a didactic lecture/discussion, including a skills training session and finish with an opportunity to practice new skills. The final project will be a weekend camping trip in which we will practice specific skills that we learn during the year. Students who are unable to attend this camping trip will have an option of writing a 3-5 page paper on a topic in wilderness medicine of their choice, to satisfy the final project requirement.
This course introduces the principle themes of refugee health. The course progresses chronologically, addressing first the health concerns of internally displaced people and then of refugees settled in "temporary" camps. A session will then explore the process of refugee resettlement in the US, with focused attention on the legal, educational, and financial logistics of the six-month resettlement phase. We will then move on to explore health care in the context of US resettlement, starting with the immediate refugee health assessment and then delving into the persistent challenges of barriers to access, chronic medical issues (including disease of mental health), and language gaps. This chronology is covered in classroom sessions with host guest speakers and assigned readings.
The goal of this elective is to introduce the field of ophthalmology to preclinical students. The course will be divided into five blocks, one for each of the eye conditions that will be examined: cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and thyroid eye disease. Each block is structured with a core didactic component supplemented by interactive content. The core content of the course consists of web-based didactics, lectures by attending ophthalmologists from the Brown Ophthalmology Division and readings consisting of case studies from peer-reviewed journals. The supplementary content of the course will animate the core content via virtual surgery, digital surgical videos, and participate in glaucoma screenings.
This preclinical elective course involves monthly student-led seminars focused on medical care of vulnerable populations and clinical experience as a student provider at Brown Student Community Clinic in the Rhode Island Free Clinic. The course aims to provide students with the knowledge, skill and support needed for medical care of underserved populations and to enable them the opportunity to practice these new-found skills in a clinical setting that services an underserved population. The intent of the course is to create future leaders in primary care and care of underserved populations.
The leadership demands on physicians are daunting; the changing healthcare system, rapid technological advances, increased patient accountability measures, resource constraints and demographic change have all been cited as areas where tomorrow's physicians will be increasingly expect to lead. Until now there have been few venues for Alpert Medical students to formally develop their leadership skills. In this course we will address effective physician leadership by examining leadership theory and leadership competencies using a case-based challenge-cycle format in addition to engaging with invited speakers and amongst ourselves in small group discussions. Students will demonstrate their competencies in a "SMART" (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time sensitive) persuasive final presentation on an aspect of medical education or medicine in general as a means to develop and explore their new skills.
This pre-clinical elective covers a variety of sexual health topics for the benefit of first and second year medical students to utilize in their clinical practice. The goal is to expose students to the range of sexual expressions and practices and help them become more comfortable engaging patients in conversation about sexual health. Throughout the course students will have the opportunity to reflect on their own sexuality and identify biases which might impact their future interactions with and counseling of patients. The majority of classes will be led by Megan Andelloux, a sexual health educator who founded the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health in Pawtucket, as well as guest sexual therapists, physicians, and community members.
Medical Impact of Basic and Translational Science will provide first and second year medical students of all levels of scientific background the opportunity to participate in intellectually engaging discussions led by prominent medical school faculty in a small group setting. A class of 8-10 students will discuss, on a biweekly basis, the original literature describing the discoveries behind many of the key topics taught in the first year curriculum. By the conclusion of the course, students will have deepened their knowledge of topics taught in the first year as well as strengthened their understanding and appreciation for the science that is responsible for where medicine stands today. Students entering the course are not expected/required to have any experience reading basic or translational literature. A maximum of five papers will be discussed throughout the semester and there will be additional lecture-based sessions related to careers in academic and translational medicine.
The "Advanced Ophthalmology Surgery Elective" is designed as an adjunct course to the "Adventures in Ophthalmology Surgery" course. The main goals of this elective are to give an in-depth, practical approach to the field of Ophthalmology by providing medical students with shadowing opportunities in eye surgeries, as well as clinical exposure by shadowing in eye clinics. The "Advanced Ophthalmology Surgery Elective" is for students who want to find out more about the career of ophthalmology, gauge their interests by experiencing day-to-day operations, meet mentors who can help students in their path to a career in ophthalmology, and hopefully increase appreciation of the subspecialty to train well-rounded physicians. Course components include online modules, virtual surgery simulation, and shadowing experiences in the OR and clinic.
This course focuses on a variety of environmental health topics: lead exposure to climate change and infectious disease; as well as connect students to physicians who have integrated environmental health work into their careers.
HIV Test Counselor Certification course will be open to all medical students and pharm and nursing program students. QPTC students provide testing services for HIV at the Miriam, the RI Free Clinic, Crossroads-HIV and HCV screening.
As physicians, one of our greatest roles will be that of an educator. This course aims to provide students with an opportunity to fuse both clinical knowledge and teaching, specifically focusing on children with food allergies. With the goal of developing an interactive lesson about food allergies for elementary school age children, students will be introduced to a variety of practitioners involved in the care of children with food allergies, including a pediatric allergist, emergency medicine physician, child psychologist and school nurse. Students will also be exposed to an existing health education program in the community, as well as gain greater insight into teaching through workshops with faculty from Brown’s Education Department. Ultimately, this course strives to use teaching as a means of empowering children living with food allergies, providing them with skills to better manage their condition and helping them to recognize that they are not alone in their condition, along with educating those without food allergies about the proactive role they can take in supporting their peers with a chronic illness. Hopefully students who enroll in this course can take what they learn throughout the semester and apply it to other future health education interventions too
Food + Health is a collaboration between Johnson & Wales University and the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University to develop a broad area of inquiry at the intersection of food, nutrition, medicine, and public health. As part of its many activities, Food + Health presents a preclinical elective for students of AMS and JWU that offers curriculum incorporating nutrition science, cooking and clinical skills. The curriculum will be split between time in the AMS classrooms and clinical suites, and JWU laboratory classrooms (kitchens).
"First, do no harm." Although physicians have been practicing medicine under this principle since the Hippocratic era, the 1999 IOM report To Err Is Human showed that many patients were being hurt, not healed by the U.S. healthcare system. This course aims to introduce students to patient safety and quality improvement so that they can help make the healthcare system safer. This course will first address how human and systems factors and communication issues in teamwork contribute to errors. Next, we will cover learning from and disclosing errors, and teach students basic quality improvement methods. Finally, we will study application to cases on healthcare-associated infections, surgical safety, and medication safety. This interactive course will include case-based discussions and team-learning simulations with content from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Open School catalog of online courses and case studies on patient safety and quality improvement. Through this course, we hope to inspire students to join the patient safety movement, empower them to speak up about safety, and prepare them to participate in quality improvement projects.
This course will provide a survey of contemporary medical ethics, with a particular emphasis on virtue ethics and principlism. Special attention will be paid to Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and more recent authors such as Pellegrino, Beauchamp, and Childress. Through a series of seminars and case studies, students will explore contemporary ethical dilemmas in medicine and consider whether it is possible to be both a virtuous human being and a competent and skilled physician.
Sep 9, 2015; Oct 14, 2015; Nov 11, 2015; Dec 2, 2015; Jan 6, 2016; Feb 3, 2016; Feb 10, 2016
The care of the sick unfolds in stories. Narrative Medicine is a field that trains physicians in narrative competence, that is, the ability to recognize, absorb, interpret and act on the stories and plight of others who face illness or care for patients. This elective will introduce students to techniques of narrative medicine and their applications in medical practice, along with experiential components involving clinical rounds at teaching hospitals and collaboration with the RISD “From Galleries to Wards” program. Topics include narrative medicine theories, illness narratives, co-constructing narratives, visual narratives, applied writing, and “Physical Diagnosis Rounds” to explore narrative medicine and cultivate narrative competence for enhanced caregiving. The goal of this elective is to build a community that replenishes and inspires, cultivate reflective thinking and practice, and heighten students’ attention and perception to the details of patients’ and colleagues’ narratives.
Nearly every type of physician must be familiar with the techniques of diagnostic imaging. This elective will foucs on a different area of radiology each week. Faculty members with expertise in that particular area will lead a discussion on why that partiuclar area of radiology is important, highlight some of the recent advances, and hot topics in the field.
The primary focus of this elective is to increase early exposure and begin building competence with essential procedural skills that all medical students will be exposed to in their undergraduate medical education. Each session will focus on a brief presentation and demonstration of a specific procedural skill, followed by time for observed practice and hands-on experience using various models and simulations. The procedures covered in the course will range from orotracheal intubation to diagnostic ultrasound and students will work directly with resident and attending physicians. Classes will be taught at Alpert Medical School and Rhode Island Hospital, depending on the session. A final exam with a written and practical component will allow students to demonstrate some of the skills they developed over the course of the elective.