This is a rigorous curriculum which spans the fundamentals of the sciences basic to the practice of medicine; from molecular and genetic medicine, to the study of human structures and functions, to disease processes and therapeutics. At the same time, students begin to learn the doctoring skills necessary to prepare them for their clinical education.
The Foundations course is more than an orientation. This important course inculcates students to the Duke-NUS core values, and prepares them for the TeamLEAD educational strategy. Teamwork and feedback skills are the focuses.
Practice Course 1
This longitudinal course introduces students to the basic clinical skills of history taking, physical examination and professional behaviour. In history taking, students acquire skills of effective doctor-patient communication through rapport building, effective listening, empathy, sensitivity, and respect. Students also learn the skills of physical examination in various organ systems which are essential in making a clinical diagnosis. Ethics and professionalism are emphasized in this course.
Molecules, Cells and Tissues
The Molecules, Cells and Tissues course integrates, biochemistry, genetics and cell biology. This course covers the basic molecular and cellular principles of human biology. The biochemistry component mainly focuses on the relationship between the structure and function of major classes of macromolecules in the living systems, as well as the metabolic interrelationships, control mechanisms, and biochemical basis of human diseases. The genetics component focuses on molecular aspects of the human genome, the structure of complex genes, regulation of gene expression, and experimental systems for genetic analysis. The cell biology component focuses on the structure and function of the cells and tissues of the body.
This course is an integrated and clinically-focused approach to Anatomy, Physiology and Micro-Anatomy. It cuts across the artificial boundaries separating these subjects and presents the material in a way most relevant to future clinicians and clinician-scientists. The course is taught by practicing clinician-teachers, and is divided into 10 integrated modules based on 10 natural clinical areas. Each module benefits from the academic and clinical input of Content Experts who are clinical practitioners in the medical specialty relevant to that module and are experienced teachers. The Content Experts bring their clinical experience into the course and help orientate, integrate and focus the teaching of Anatomy, Physiology and Micro-Anatomy in a manner most useful to future medical practitioners. Data interpretation, especially in an applied clinical context, is emphasized.
The course utilizes Team-based learning (TeamLEAD) as a key teaching strategy. TeamLEAD session is a powerful educational tool for teaching a large amount of material efficiently in a time-effective and integrated manner. It is a crucial component of the Normal Body course and trains students to arrive at solutions by capitalizing on teamwork. In addition, the course leverages on Information Technology (IT) as a teaching tool - IT will be used extensively both in covering required background material in the shortest possible time and in interactive learning with the faculty.
Evidence Based Medicine (EBM)
The Evidence Based Medicine course introduces students to the fundamental skills necessary for critically appraising and interpreting the medical literature. This course, the first in the longitudinal research-education thread, provides the foundation for applying scientific evidence to patient care.
Brain and Behaviour
The Brain and Behaviour course introduces students to clinical and basic neuroscience. The course has three interlocking components: 1) Clinical neuroanatomy laboratory sessions for identifying the organisation of the nervous system in order to diagnose and understand the effects of neurological diseases and trauma. 2) The fundamental basic science of nerve cells and nerve cell circuits that underlie the function of neural systems. 3) The behavioural manifestations of neural functioning that underlie cognitive function and psychiatric disorders. The content of the course is delivered primarily through TeamLEAD and other experiential forms of education.
Body and Disease
The Body and Disease course integrates the fundamentals of Immunology, Microbiology, Pharmacology and Pathology. As the last (and longest) course of the pre-clerkship curriculum, the beginning sessions of the course concentrate on fundamental principles of the four sciences, while the latter part of the course reinforces these principles by applying them to specific organ systems. The subjects are presented through clinical problem-solving scenarios in TeamLEAD and tutorial sessions.