Curriculum

The course of instruction leading to the degree, Doctor of Medicine, extends over a four year period. During the 1980-81 academic year, a revision of all four years of the curriculum was initiated; this was the first total revision since the inception of the School of Medicine in 1931. The second and third year curricula were re-evaluated and restructured during the 1982-83 academic year. At that time an Honors Program also became part of the curriculum. The first and second years were reviewed and revised again during 1993-1995 and the 1996-1997 academic year.

The Honors Program is in addition to the regular curriculum and is designed to challenge the exceptional student while stimulating the interest of the individual. It entails an independent research program encompassing both the basic and clinical sciences in pursuit of an area of mutual interest between the student and the student's faculty advisor. Students who have maintained high academic standards during their first semester in the School of Medicine are eligible for consideration.

The curriculum outlined below indicates the general policy of instruction and is subject to modification at the discretion of the faculty:

The first two years of the curriculum are devoted chiefly to the basic medical sciences and serve as a foundation for the clinical work in the last two years.

Each student is required to take Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing (USMLE) Examination after satisfactory completion of the second year of medical school. A passing grade is required. Should a student not pass Step 1 of the USMLE examination, the student must be immediately withdrawn from the clerkship in which the student is currently enrolled so that the student can devote his or her full effort to studying for the reexamination. Further progress in the third year is prohibited until a passing grade is achieved. Such a student will be referred to the combined First and Second Year Student Promotion Committee for disposition. Failure of the Step 1, USMLE may constitute grounds for dismissal from school. Under no circumstances may a student sit more than three times for Step I of the USMLE to fulfill this requirement.

Students entering the fourth year of study are required to take Step 2 of the USMLE examination and achieve a passing score, prior to their graduation.

Year three consists of eight and a half days of ophthalmology and four consecutive 12-week blocks: medicine; general surgery (8 weeks), otorhinolaryngology (2 weeks) and urology (2 weeks); pediatrics (8 weeks) and Family Medicine (4 weeks); and obstetrics and gynecology (6 weeks) and psychiatry (6 weeks).

The final year consists of 36 weeks divided into nine four week blocks. Blocks in ambulatory care, general medicine, neural sciences, special topics, and an acting internship are required of all students. The special-topics block includes nutrition, geriatrics, drug and alcohol abuse, office management and financial planning. The remainder of the year (20 weeks) may be scheduled as electives either in basic or clinical sciences with four weeks allowed for vacation. A catalog fully describing the electives program for the Senior year and detailing all elective courses is available in the Office of Student Affairs and Records.

Lectures in the clinical years are intended to present those subjects that cannot be presented adequately by other methods.

Conferences are held at regular intervals in most departments for small groups of students. Both the question and answer and the discussion methods are used. The conferences are correlated with the work covered in didactic lectures and other exercises, and students are urged to use these hours for the elucidation of special points on which they feel the need for further instruction.

Seminars are conducted for the purpose of teaching the student to use intelligently and critically the current medical literature; familiarity with this material should form the basis for continued study throughout active professional life.

Clinical clerkships in all departments are conducted along the same general lines. Students in small groups are assigned to the clinical services in the Medical Center of Louisiana, New Orleans and a number of other affiliated hospitals.

In general, as patients are admitted they are assigned to the students in rotation. The history, physical examination, and laboratory work must be completed within a specified period of time after the patient's admission. These are checked by the instructor and discussed either with the student, individually, or with the student and the entire section to which the student is assigned. The student also suggests such additional examinations and tests as may be necessary, as well as consultation by various specialists. These consultations, so far as possible, are answered at a time when the student assigned to the case can be present. The student keeps progress notes on the student's patients, and continues the observation and record until the patient leaves the hospital.

Outpatient dispensaries are attended in small groups by third and fourth year students, who rotate in each department as may be necessary. During this assignment they take histories, perform physical examinations and routine laboratory tests, institute or perform the necessary diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, act as dressers, and follow up their patients on subsequent visits.

Diagnostic clinics are conducted along the same general lines in each clinical department. Patients from the various clinical services are presented to the class (which consists of third and fourth year students). The history, whenever possible, is presented by the student to whom the case has been assigned. The instructor supplements the history, conducts physical examinations and tests, and illustrates to the students the process of making and confirming a diagnosis. Cases that illustrate both usual and unusual pathologic and diagnostic difficulties are presented.

Investigation is encouraged, and opportunities to carry on original research under the guidance of a member of the faculty are provided for those students who have the ability and interest.


Internships and Residencies

The School endeavors to assist graduating students in obtaining suitable appointments in hospitals approved for internship by the Council on Medical Education and Hospitals of the American Medical Association. Students are urged to seek internships through the National Residency Matching Program, and are advised on internship matters by a special committee of the faculty and individual faculty advisors.