Preclinical Years

Preclinical Curriculum

The preclinical curriculum offered to medical students by our department is a progressive and integrative experience that links mental health with physical health, teaching students how to be physicians who can care for the whole person. With the newly revised curriculum, the former preclinical courses on human sexuality (one of the only courses of its kind in U.S. medical schools) and psychopathology have been integrated into a continuous and systems-based curriculum.

Human Behavior & Development Theme

The Human Behavior & Development theme spans the entire preclinical curriculum and introduces students to major phases and domains of human development across the lifespan, linking these to normal development as well as disease process. Co-directed by Dr. Charles Samenow, a psychiatrist, and Dr. Terry Kind, a pediatrician, this theme seeks to illustrate how development impacts health behaviors and mental health.  Students are introduced to several psychiatric illnesses, including depression and eating disorders, and also begin to learn about normal human sexuality.  This innovative theme brings in panelists to share their stories and fosters a collaborative approach to learning with team-based learning (TBL) activities.

Brain & Behavior Block

This eight-week block covers neuroscience and psychiatry, introducing students to psychopathology and giving them skills they will build upon in the psychiatry clerkship. The block introduces topics such as psychiatric interviewing and common psychiatric illnesses. The block as a whole seeks to integrate basic science into clinical medicine providing students with an evidence-based understanding of clinical psychiatry. The psychiatric portion of the block builds the foundational knowledge base that will be applied in practice by students during their clerkship and clinical electives in their third- and fourth-years.