MS in Physiology Curriculum 2021-22
Like many medical schools, the University of Cincinnati has undergone dramatic revisions and improvements in the curriculum for medical students (implemented in Fall 2011). Consequently, our MS program was also revised so that it continues to provide our students side-by-side training with medical students.
The revised medical curriculum has more strongly integrated the basic science disciplines (Physiology, Biochemistry, Anatomy, Cell Biology, etc) with clinical knowledge. The majority of the non-clinical learning experiences in the first two years of medical school are now presented within defined blocks that systematically explore different organ systems and integrative topic areas. Our SMP students participate in three of these blocks: 1) Fundamentals of Molecular Medicine; 2) Fundamentals of Cellular Medicine; and 3) the Musculoskeletal-Integumentary System.
SMP students participate in all lectures, all large group and small group exercises and laboratories, including histology and gross anatomy, and sit for the same exams as the medical students. As in our prior curriculum, MS students do not join medical students in experiences that include patient interactions or training in clinics. However we continue to provide our students with insights into the interdisciplinary medical team, the medical interview process, and help with finding shadowing opportunities.
In addition, our MS program includes training in medical physiology, content that has been taught to medical students at UC for the prior decade. Much of this content has been assimilated into the new integrated curriculum and will be taught to medical students during their second year; but we now present this information to our MS students in two courses labeled as Graduate Medical Physiology (GMP I and GMP II). Through a mixture of on-line and numerous live classroom experiences, GMP courses teach the knowledge needed to understand body and organ function in health and disease.
The GMP coursework does not occur with current medical students; however, the GMP I exams are the same as those given to medical students prior to the curriculum revision. This evaluation allows us to provide a direct and rigorous comparison of MS student performance versus the known past performance of medical students on the same Medical Physiology content. Graduate Medical Physiology is a two-part sequence, the first taught at the beginning of the fall semester and the second, late in the spring semester. GMP I begins in August and is completed prior to the first M1 Fundamentals block; it includes content covering the topics of Whole-Body Fluid Homeostasis, Cell and Membrane, Muscle, and Cardiovascular Physiology. GMP II starts in March, after the conclusion of the M1 Musculoskeletal–Integumentary block; it includes Renal, Respiratory, Acid–Base, Gastrointestinal, Endocrine, and Reproductive Physiology.
In the fall, SMP students also participate in Interprofessional Education in Health Sciences & Medicine, which introduces students to the breadth of health professions and the interactions between the physician and others in the interdisciplinary healthcare team. Professional Development is a seminar-based course that focuses on skills important for medical school applications and interviews.
During the spring semester, SMP students take three graduate courses, Statistics & Experimental Design for the Biomedical Sciences, Neurophysiology & Behavior, and Critical Thinking in Translational Medicine: Physiology Capstone. The last of these is designed to help students develop skills in critical analysis and reasoning, exploring the primary literature in biomedical and clinical research, and giving oral and poster presentations.