Phase A - Years 1 & 2

Phase A (Year 1 & 2)


Systems-based Courses

Each week of the systems based courses consists of 1 to 2 Clinical Presentations (CPs). Each CP is accompanied by an algorithmic scheme. The scheme consists of a branching diagram to aid the student in reaching a diagnosis via deductive reasoning. Medical science faculty and/or clinical faculty from the community will walk the students through the scheme(s), emphasizing critical decision points and setting the framework for the integration of the basic sciences. Basic science faculty will subsequently present the fundamental principles from the basic sciences (e.g. anatomy, biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, immunology, microbiology, nutrition, pathology, pharmacology, physiology etc.) to supply the student with the adequate knowledge and comprehension required to arrive at a correct diagnosis. These basic science sessions will highlight the normal structures and functions of the system, as well as various disease states, including care and treatment options. Following a CP and its accompanying basic science content, students will participate in work case examples. Work case examples are clinical scenarios providing the student with an opportunity to employ the CP scheme and basic science knowledge to arrive at a diagnosis and propose treatment options. Concurrently, students will participate in the longitudinal medical skills and masters colloquium sessions also related to the CPs.

Medical Skills


The Medical Skills course is designed to teach each medical student the basic clinical skills needed for medical practice. These skills include: communication, physician-patient rapport, history taking, physical examination, interpretation of diagnostic studies, note writing, oral presentations, use of patient care teams, application of medical and scientific knowledge in patient management, cost effective comparisons in treatment approaches, mastery of selected procedures and professionalism. In addition, we expect students to understand the use of counseling and feedback, both with their future patients and in their own growth as future physicians.

Learning will be accomplished using a combination of: 1) self-directed study of preparatory materials, 2) surface anatomy sessions with body painting 3)

hands-on demonstrations, 4) paired or standardized patient practice sessions, 5) simulated clinical procedures, 6) team-based problem solving exercises, 7) small group training using partial task simulators, 8) interactions with real patients with real medical problems or physical findings as appropriate 9) experiential education on relevant topics in nutrition, and 10) journal club. Formative feedback/assessment will include: 1) self-reflection, 2) self-assessment (video tapes), 3) quizzes, 4) faculty observation with checklist assessment, 5) peer feedback, and 6) standardized patient assessment.

The CPs presented in the Systems-based courses will be used to focus the selection of the “skill of the week”.


Masters Colloquium

The Masters Colloquium course is a biweekly 2 hour seminar presented to medical students in Years 1 and 2. At the beginning of Year 1, students will be divided into groups of 20 and each group will constitute a college. Students will remain in their assigned college for the first two years of Medical School. Each college will be led by a College Master. College Masters will be responsible for delivering the content of the Masters Colloquium course to their college. The colloquia are conducted in a discussion or workshop format, and cover complex, multidisciplinary aspects of professional development. The course also includes invited presentations by an expert followed by discussion. The purpose of this course is to address important issues that the students will encounter in the practice of medicine and to prepare them to become compassionate, trustworthy, well-informed medical doctors who understand the challenges of this profession and can face them with confidence and honor.

Areas covered in Phase A (Year 1 & 2) (click here)


Self-Directed Student Scholarly Project Course

The required Self-Directed Student Scholarly Project (hereafter referred to as the Scholarly Project) is a one-year, research-based program to be completed during the 2nd year of medical school. To assist in the development of collaborative skills, students will work in groups of three to identify research interests, gaps in knowledge, explore hypotheses and develop a research plan. Scholarly Project will allow students to hone their analytical and investigative skills by participating in an active research project under a faculty advisor to produce usable data sets, public presentations, and abstracts suitable for publication. The requirements for the project will be explained to students during the Orientation. The following are examples of broader categories that are considered to be suitable for a scholarly project:

• Translational Research
• Clinical Research
• Basic Research
• Global Health
• Medical Education
• Epidemiology
• Public and Environmental Health
• History of Medicine



The student group will develop a hypothesis/question and devise the methods and steps appropriate to answering the question/hypothesis with the guidance of their chosen mentor. They will then generate a suitable research project proposal with corresponding planned analysis and outcomes.

Depending on the type of project, the students may have to complete required training (for example, laboratory biosafety training, blood-borne pathogen training, radiation safety training, IRB and HIPAA training for working with human subjects or accessing patient data, or IACUC training for working with laboratory animals). Projects that include human research subjects will require approval by the CNU IRB. Similarly, if laboratory animals are used, approval by the CNU IACUC will be required.


California Northstate University College of Medicine ♦ 9700 West Taron Drive ♦ Elk Grove, CA 95757 ♦ Phone: (916) 686-7400