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.

Professor Lundy Braun, Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Africana Studies

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.

For questions, please contact Professor Lundy Braun (

Bob Heffron, MD

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 in the spring.

Dr. M. Wool

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.

Dr. J. Sung

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.

Nidia Schuhmacher
Ruth McGovern, MD20; Aida Alazar, MD20

The Intermediate Medical Spanish course will be taught by a graduate student and will be conducted entirely in Spanish. The course will be based on the medical interview and physical exam skills taught in Doctoring I & II, and will focus on medical vocabulary supplemented by grammar review when relevant. By the end of the course students are expected to have the receptive and productive language skills necessary to conduct a full medical interview and check basic vital signs in Spanish.

L. Tobin Tyler, JD, MA

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.

E. Adashi, MD
Garrett Bowen MD20; Caroline Burke MD20; Steffan Kim MD20; Nathan Pertsch MD20

Through a series of ten dynamic and insightful lectures from renowned leaders in the fields of hospital administration, private insurance, public policy, and healthcare more broadly, this course promises to provide attendees with the foundational knowledge needed to understand the complicated interplay between public, private, and individual actors in our current healthcare system. But beyond that, the sessions serve as an opportunity to learn from and engage with the people and organizations working to improve a decidedly flawed but constantly evolving system through innovations in IT, provider reimbursement, patient safety, and much more.

Dr. F. Luks

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.

Dr. David Egilman

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.

Willoughby Britton
Mason Hedberg, BMSIV

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.

T. Empkie, MD, MPH
Elizabeth Schindler, MD16

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.

Reena Bhatt, MD
Nick Nissen, MD20

Introduction to Surgical Subspecialties is a preclinical elective 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.

C. Phornphuktul, MD
Alexandra Grieb, MD17

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.

Deborah Salem Smith

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.

Dr. Robert Heffron

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.

Dr. Michelle Daniel
Susie Ahn, MD17; Hyunwoo June Choo, MD17

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.

Jay Baruch, MD; Michael Lye
Surya Manickam, MD20; Peter Mattson, MD20; Derrick Cheng, MD20; Pranav Reddy, MD17; Aaron Heskes, RISD undergraduate  

Design+Health is an interdisciplinary course bringing together AMS, RISD, and Brown students to tackle health care challenges through design. Students will work in teams of 3-4 on projects in one of five tracks: Emergency Medicine, Surgery, Neonatal Intensive Care, Primary Care, and a "Make your Own" track. With guidance from clinical and design mentors, students will shadow in health care settings, identify a health care problem, design a solution, and pitch a final prototype or concept of their solution to a panel of design experts. The pitch will be attended by a Rhode Island business incubator program and students will have the opportunity to win mentorship and future partnerships to continue their project after the course has completed. For more information, visit .

Dr. Joseph Rabatin
Austin Tam, MD19

Interprofessional education is becoming more important as healthcare becomes increasingly complex; however, formal education in working in teams is often lacking. This elective, jointly run with the College of Pharmacy and the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Rhode Island, the Schools of Social Work and Nursing at Rhode Island College and the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, will give students a foundation for leading health professional teams. The didactic and learning activities of the curriculum include interprofessional education directed towards the development of interprofessional competencies and leadership skills including, but not limited to, values/ethics, communication, professional roles and responsibilities, and teamwork.

Nidia Schuhmacher
Greta Solinap, MD19; Nari Sohn,MD19; Ileana Laguna, MD20

The goal of the course is to explore Spanish as it is used in different medical settings, to explore and engage with cultures that speak Spanish, and to refine Spanish speaking skills commonly used in medical interactions. The Advanced Medical Spanish pre-clinical elective consists of 10-12 required classes. Class meetings will consist of interactive activities and discussions on various topics of medicine. The Community Engagement component of the class is designed to encourage students to speak Spanish in a professional setting and to observe Spanish-speaking patients and physicians. We require that each student do two three-hour Community Engagement sessions. There are also two OSCEs. The purpose of the OSCE is to ensure that students can use Spanish in a clinical setting and to help students incorporate what they have learned in doctoring to their Spanish skill set. Assigned grades are pass/fail. The course runs from mid Sept. to late Jan.

Dr. Rachel Fowler; Dr. Michael Goldstein
Jack Arsenault, MD20; Gerianne Connell, MD20; Sigrid Young, MD20; Joy Zhou, MD20

Healer’s Art applies values from contemplative studies, humanistic and transpersonal psychology, cognitive psychology, creative arts and storytelling to explore a more personal connection to the field of medicine. The preclinical elective will engage students and faculty in large group discussions of deep listening, acceptance, loss, grief, healing, awe and mystery, and self-care practices, as well as offer students a more intimate experience with a small, consistent cohort of their peers to reflect upon individual experiences related to each night’s topic. The elective allows participants to reveal and reinforce the altruistic values, sense of calling, and intention to serve that led them to the field of medicine.

Janet Cooper Nelson
Marcos Aranda, MD17

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.

Jeffrey P. Feden, MD
John Kane, MD20; Rei Mitsuyama, Md20; Sukrit Jain, MD20

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.

Susanna Magee, MD, MPH
Nathan Coppersmith, MD19; Kristen Durbin, MD19; Elisa Glubok, MD19; Sheyla Medina, MD19

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.

Francois I. Luks, MD

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

Melinda Bridgman, MD
Natasha Nguyen, MD19

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.

Laura Levine
Mackenzie Brigham, MD19; Paul Wallace, MD19; Mark Godding, MD19; John Warwick, MD19; Mariska Raglow-DeFranco, MD19

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.

Craig Kaufmann, MD; Megan Smith
Pranav Aurora, MD20; Alice Lee, MD20; Emily White, MD20

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. 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 Wednesday evenings and two students may join at a time.

Rebecca Barron, MD, MPH; Alyson McGregor, MD, MA
Sarah Magaziner, MD19; Abigail Davies, MD19

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. 

Adetokunbo Oyelese, MD, PhD
James Yu, MD18; Krystyna Marsella

The preclinical elective in neurological surgery is an introductory survey for medical students in their first and second year of study to gain exposure to and explore potential interest in neurological surgery.

Neil Sarkar PhD, MLIS; Elizabeth S. Chen, PhD

This course will introduce students to basic data analytic skills needed for supporting research in biomedicine and health care. This course is not focused on teaching the full breadth of fundamental informatics or data science concepts; however, some coverage of these topics will be done within the context of biomedical and health scenarios. The overall course will be done in the context of student chosen projects, with the goal of establishing necessary foundational data analytic techniques for supporting longer-term research goals.

Robert Heffron

An Introduction to the Clinical Practice of Chinese Medicine is designed to introduce future physicians to the theoretical and practical underpinnings of the practice of Chinese medicine. The foundations of Chinese medicine, including yin-yang theory, the organs, substances, physiology of Chinese organs, the meridian system, and the basics of clinical diagnosis including asking (history taking), tongue, pulse, and abdominal examination will
be covered in didactic sessions and hands on classroom learning.

This course is coordinated with the program in traditional Chinese medicine in Hangzhou, China, and is strongly recommended to those students planning to attend the Hangzhou program in the summer. It is also recommended to any student with an interest in Chinese medicine and especially for those with an interest in pursuing clinical skills in Chinese
medicine as physicians.

Fall 2016 Mondays, 4-5:30 BMC 212

Dr. Ken Williams
Samantha Cappuccino, MD20; Thomas Lopardo, MD20

This elective helps students develop skills to better respond to an emergency/disaster situation and provides them with insight into prehospital care. Skills covered include limb immobilization, airway management, mass casualty management, disaster situation communication skills, how to construct a “go bag,” and more. Course materials include information on the policy and procedures of EMS companies in and around RI, FEMA and Incident Command System for large scale disaster response, and information for both professional and personal disaster preparedness.  During the course, students will complete a ride-along with LifePACT (critical care transport ambulance), and the course will culminate in a simulated mass casualty incident where students will use the skills gained throughout the elective.

Dr. Teresa Schraeder
Anna Delamerced, MD20

Medical journalism permeates our world with medical articles published in The New York Times and Huffington Post to health podcasts, NOVA, NPR, and books such as The Emperor of All Maladies and The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee, and Being Mortal by Atul Gawande.Journalists are continually translating, illustrating and exposing the complexity, mystery and insularity of medicine for the public. This elective will investigate the work of medical journalists from how they approach stories in various formats to the mistakes they make and the challenges they face. Discussions will include analysis of the intersection of medicine and journalism and the impact of medical news on patients, physicians, research and the public’s perception and expectations of the medical profession. This elective is for students who are interested in medical writing during their careers as physicians and learning more about the profession of medical journalism and its impact on our society.

Dr. Susanna Magge; Dr. Jordan White
Sophie LaBarre, MD20; Jessi Haddad, MD20; Rachel Hill, MD20; Grace Russo, MD20

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.

G. Wessel
Dorothy Liu, MD17; Holly Brideau MD17; Lakir Patel, MD17

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.

Dr. Elizabeth Sutton
Stefan Jung, MD20; Ruth McGovern, MD20; Danielle Castagneri, MD20

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.

Dr. Carol Lewis
Margie Thorsen, MD19; Kiersten Sapp, MD19; Emily MacDuffie, MD19

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.

Paul B. Greenberg, MD and Michael Migliori, MD
Rachel Thankore, MD18

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.

J. Rabatin, MD
Pranav Aurora, MD20; Gerianne Connell, MD20; Kristian Georgiev, MD20; Sarah Kler, MD20; Andreas Lazaris, MD20; Connie Lu, MD20

This course explores topics that influence the health of populations affected by structural oppression.  We delve into the “social determinants of health”, and examine practices that produce, reinforce, or  perpetuate disparities in health and healthcare. Consisting of 10 interactive discussion and workshop
based seminars, this course explores how factors such as power, privilege, and income distribution,  interpersonal bias and communication, neighborhood and built environment, social and community context, and organizational policies can work to adversely impact the health of specific subgroups of the population. Students who take this course will leave with knowledge and practical skills that can be directly applied to improve the health of medically underserved groups. This course is available to all
pre-clinical students.

B. Clyne, MD
Rory Merritt, MSIV

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.

Megan Andelloux
Danielle Stern, MD19; Elise Presser, MD19

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.

Phillip Gruppuso, MD
Brendan Barry, MD20; Evan Baum, MD20; Matt Wilson, MD20

MITBS will provide 1st and 2nd year medical students of any scientific background level the opportunity to engage in intellectual discussions led by prominent AMS faculty in a small group setting. The class will discuss original literature describing the discoveries behind many of the key topics taught in the 1st year curriculum, therefore deepening their knowledge of those topics and strengthening their appreciation of the science behind modern medicine. Prior literature reading experience is not required.

Dr. Paul B Greenberg, MD
Annie Wu, MD17

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. 


Joseph Braun, MD
Kelsey Ripp, MD16; Emily Viggiano, MD16

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.

Dr. Philip Chan
Meghna Nandi, MD20; Andreas Lazaris, MD20

The course is a unique opportunity for students to become
involved within the Rhode Island community. In 2006, the CDC revised its HIV testing guidelines and now recommends that everyone between the ages of 13-64 get screened for HIV. As it stands in Rhode Island, only Qualified Professional Testing Counselors (QPTCs) are allowed to provide testing services for HIV. Through providing instruction on current HIV management, this course will train students to become certified QPTCs and offer instruction in the use of both HIV and HCV Rapid Antibody Tests. Students will learn how to address difficult diagnoses and how to best encourage their patients to seek further treatment. Students will be able to use their knowledge and certification to strengthen the efforts of The Miriam Hospital, Rhode Island Free Clinic, Clinca Esperanza, Crossroads, and others to increase both HIV and HCV screening, providing a valuable and much needed service to the community.

Susan Rudders
Emily Davis, MD17

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

Paul George, MD, MHPE
Damon McIntire, MD19

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).

Paul George, MD, MPHE
Brian Kwan, MD17
Paul George, MD, MPHE
Seungjun Kim, MD17; Vinay Rao, MD17

"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.


Michael Felder
Richard Buesa, MD18

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.

Jay Baruch, MD
Erick Guzman, MD20; Nikki Haddad, MD20

This course will traverse a range of patient experiences as expressed through creative work. Through reflective writing, drawing, art observation, a visit to the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum, and meetings with special guest artists, students will find new ways to appreciate and meditate
on their future roles as caregivers. The course culminates in a creative final project. No art experience required. Open to first and second years. Enrollment is capped at 15 students.

Steven Rougas, MD, MS; Nicholas Musisca, MD
Jessica Haddad, MD20; Erick Guzman, MD20; Michael Berke, MD20

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. 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.

Tareq Kheirbek, MD
Geoff Hogan, MD20; Kaitlyn McLeod, MD20

The Introduction to Trauma and Acute Care Surgery pre-clinical elective is a semester-long course designed to introduce students to the acute surgical patient and the decision-making process leading a trauma surgeon to take a patient to the operating room. In this elective, first and second year medical students will learn the immediate evaluation and management of traumatic injuries as well as participate in case-based discussions of trauma patients.

Don Yoo, MD
Andrew Chang, MD20

Nearly every type of physician must be familiar with the techniques of diagnostic imaging. This elective will focus on a different area of radiology each week. Faculty members with expertise in that particular area will lead a discussion on why that particular area of radiology is important, common case presentations, and highlight some of the recent advances in the field.

Arnold-Peter Weiss, MD
Wesley Durand , MD20; Sukrit Jain, MD20; Tim Genovese, MD20

Business and management skills are essential competencies for today's physicians yet are not taught in medical school.  The Business of Medicine will cover fundamental topics at the intersection of business and medicine including: finance for providers, marketing, healthcare economics, supply chain for healthcare improvement, and interdisciplinary team management.  The course will also cover basic professionalism skills, such as presentation style and negotiations.  Students will not only gain an understanding of the healthcare system as a business, but will learn how to work successfully within that business.

Dr. Leslie Bostom
Nova Shu, MD17; Michelle Koh, MD19

Introductory dermatology course for first year students aimed to improve familiarity with common inflammatory and neoplastic skin disorders through faculty-led seminars.  Students will practice minor procedures such as shave biopsies, punch biopsies, and suturing under the teaching of residents and attendings.  In a hands-on anatomy lab session, students will identify, biopsy, suture and review the history of lesions on cadavers.  Finally, students will spend 2 hours participating in dermatology clinic.  The course will be graded on attendance and a 5 minute dermatology-related PoerPoint presentation given on a topic of the student's choice.

Megan Ranney, MD, MPH
Srav Puranam, MD20; Eliza DeCroce-Movson, MD20

Digital health, “the convergence of the digital revolution with health and healthcare ” is a term that encompasses a wide range innovative fields including (but not limited to): health care social media, mHealth (or “mobile health” using cell phones or tablets), health information technology, telemedicine (delivering healthcare at a distance via technology), and wearable devices. Digital health is becoming an increasing presence in clinical practice and has potential to revolutionize patient care and the health care system. Physician involvement in the development and implementation of digital health innovations is critical to their success, yet few courses or clinical rotations for medical students provide opportunities to engage with this field . This preclinical elective aims to expose students to a breadth of topics in digital health and will provide the opportunity to engage with experts who approach the field from a variety of angles. Students can expect each session to be highly interactive and discussion-based. This course, while broad in its scope, is designed to provide frameworks and concrete skills students can use to critically evaluate digital health innovations and develop and implement ideas of their own.

Brad Brockmann
Liz Perry, MD19; Matt Perry, MD19

Prisons are the largest providers of mental health care in the US. Infectious diseases are more prevalent in prisons than in the general US population, including hepatitis C, which is 9-10 times more prevalent among inmates, and HIV, which is 4-5 times more prevalent. These are just a few examples of how incarceration and health intersect. In partnership with the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights, this course aims to provide context for these staggering statistics, to elucidate how incarceration disproportionately affects communities of color and other marginalized communities who are also medically underserved, and to teach student doctors how to provide culturally competent care to formerly incarcerated individuals. Guest lecturers include physicians who work in prisons, activists fighting for prison reform, and individuals who have experienced incarceration.

Diane Green
Ella Sorscher, MD19; Deanna Nardella, MD19; David Karambizi, MD19

This is a service-centered elective, designed to engage medical students with the young men of the San Miguel School in Providence.  San Miguel is a private, independent Lasallian middle school that selectively chooses at risk urban boys, and immerses them in a culture emphasizing citizenship, service, and personal responsibility.  As part of this elective, medical students will gain teaching experience, collectively work to faciliatte weekly tutoring sessions and collaborate with the students on a final group project.  The San Miguel Project aims to bridge out two worlds, providing San Miguel students with much needed educational and mentorship resources, as well as give committed medical students invaluable insight into the realitites of our local patient population.

Dr. John Kole, Dr. Jay Baruch
Alexa Kanbergs, MD19; Ella Sorscher, MD19

Physicians are inevitably and increasingly being challenged to find their way through complicated ethical conflicts in medical care and clinical research. Therefore, this course provides a basic understanding of clinical bioethics that will be fundamental to our success as we move forward with our careers, as well as highlight content covered on the STEP 1 Exam and later Board Exams.

Robert Heffron
Giancarlo Glick, MD19

Integrative medicine is a promising field that draws from the best of the world's healing modalities to provide safe, individualized care to patients. It acknowledges the role of mind, body, spirit and community as vital to the healing process and seeks to foster a partnership between doctors and patients. While it recognizes the power of conventional biomedicine, integrative medicine also attempts to facilitate the body's own healing response.

Neil Sarkar, PhD, MLIS; Liz Chen, PhD
Dilum Aluthge MD20; Karishma Bhatia MD20; Ishan Sinha MD20

The electronic health record (EHR) has become an essential tool for supporting and evaluating health care delivery. This course will provide a glimpse of how EHRs have evolved, how they can impact clinical practice, and views on their future uses. This course will include lectures, interactive discussions, and first-hand accounts from physicians demonstrating how EHRs are used in practice. A major feature of the course will be using a real EHR system for simulating physician/patient interactions.

Dr. Julie Roth
Anna Delamerced, MD20; Sukrit Jain, MD20

Do you love watching Scrubs or ER? Are you drawn to movies like Lorenzo’s Oil and Still Alice? Medicine is multidimensional. The films and television shows featured in this course provide ways for medical students to think and discuss the various visual narratives that involve the experiences of physicians, patients, and caretakers. In this preclinical elective, students will investigate themes including the following: relationships between patients and healthcare providers; illness as metaphor and reality; the experience of disease, death, dying, and healing; truth, reality, and misconceptions; and the humanistic and social aspects of medicine.

Dr. Elizabeth Lowenhaupt
Julia Hadley, MD20; Jessica Velasquez, MD20; Thea Belay, MD20; Rajsavi Anand, MD20

This preclinical elective is open to all medical students who are interested in providing sexual and general health
education to incarcerated youth at the Rhode Island Training School (RITS). As part of this course, students will teach ten 45-minute lessons to a group of 4-8 students at the RITS. Prior to these sessions, students are required to attend a 30-minute lesson prep meeting. Students will teach topics such as male/female anatomy; STIs; mental health literacy; food and nutrition. The course will also include lectures and discussions led by RITS staff regarding the Rhode Island Youth correction system; how healthcare works for RITS residents; and health disparities faced by incarcerated youth. No teaching experience required; at least 80% attendance and a brief oral presentation outlining your experience at the end of the semester required for credit.

Dr. Sadie Elisseou
Meghna Nandi, MD20; Sravanthi (Srav) Puranam, MD20

This course will teach students about the profound impact various forms of trauma, including sexual assault, intimate
partner violence, adverse childhood experiences, war and combat, community violence, medical trauma, and natural
disasters, can have on both mental and physical health and how the e??ects of trauma manifest across di??erent
populations at all stages of life. Furthermore, this course will provide students with the opportunity to learn and
practice concrete skills from a trauma-informed toolkit and framework around how to create a clinical environment that
is not only supportive to patients who have experienced trauma and but also fosters resiliency in all patients,
regardless of whether they have experienced trauma.

Craig Eberson
Catherine Garcia, MD20; Sam Paul, MD20

Introduction to Orthopaedic Surgery is a preclinical elective designed to provide an early exposure to the field of orthopaedics for first- and second-year medical students. The elective provides opportunities for students to participate in hands-on workshops, shadow in a variety of settings (clinic, operating room, emergency department), review current literature, and cultivate mentor relationships with Brown faculty and residents.

Paul George, MD, MHPE
Dustin Biron, MD20; Kimberly Glerum, MD20; Varun Iyengar, MD20; Peter Mattson, MD20; Samanth Paul, MD20

Pathways to Medicine is a mentorship program started in 2013 at AMS. Each year, over 50 Rhode Island high school students join students from AMS and local health professions schools (URI Nursing/Pharmacy, Bryant PA) once monthly for Pathways Sessions. During these 2.5-hour sessions, high school students are introduced to hands-on experiences and principles relating to healthcare professions. High school mentees then spend dedicated time with their mentor, where they’re able to form strong mentor/mentee bonds, receive support on the college application process, learn about the professional school application process, and how to pursue their healthcare career goals. Mentees also work with mentors to create a final project that they present at the conclusion of the program in a symposium-style set-up. In this final session, mentees/mentors, parents, teachers, medical school faculty, and other community members have the opportunity to celebrate the work that mentees have accomplished.

Fred Schiffman
Rajsavi Anand, MD20; Katherine Fitch, MD20; Jordan Emont, MD20

This course will survey various topics in the history of medicine such as the origins of modern mental health, radical surgery, anatomical dissections, amongst other topics.  The class will be 8 didactic/lecture sessions with a final presentation in which students research a topic on their own in a group.  Students do not need any experience to take the class.

Sun Ho Ahn, MD, FSIR
Tom Kishkovich, MD20; Rei Mitsuyama, MD20

Interventional Radiology (IR) is a rapidly growing field with constant innovation.  This elective provides students with the opportunity to shadow physicians during procedures, attend conferences, and participate in rounds with the medical team.  This course will also include interactive and didactic sessions with physicians from various areas within the field of IR.  Through interacting with physicians and residents, students will create mentoring relationships necessary for research opportunities should they wish to pursue them.