Gateways Program


The Gateways Program features small class sizes that allow for individualized attention to students' academic needs.

Introduction to Medical Sciences and Patient Care

Splinting WorkshopThis 2-week intensive July course introduces students to the wide variety of topics that will be explored in the Master’s of Medical Sciences program, with a focus on the patient care aspects.  The course will combine seminar classroom instruction with field work/immersion at a community health center site, which will be their longitudinal site throughout the year. Topics covered will include: the biopsychosocial model of healthcare; the intersection between science, social science and humanities in healthcare; introduction to community health centers; professionalism in healthcare; basic healthcare communication skills; quality improvement skills; and learning styles and strategies for mastery of basic science knowledge.  Students’ knowledge and skills acquisition will be assessed using multiple methods including: seminar participation, reflective essays/field notes, attendance at required field work sites, & assessment from community mentors.                                        

Human Histology    

Human Histology is a well established first year medical school course. It provides an in-depth treatment of the “stuff we are made of” and the logic of its organization. The basic architecture of the body is of primary significance in gaining an understanding of what we as human animals are made of, and how we work. Fundamental to such an understanding is the basic unit of life, the cell. During early development, cells in the aggregate undergo specialization as tissues, which are the building blocks of the body. This course focuses first on the biology of the four basic tissues (epithelium, connective tissue, muscle and nerve) and second, how they contribute to the functional anatomy of all organs and systems. We will emphasize characteristic developmental, structure-function and regulatory relationships within normal cells and tissues, which are the foundation for the understanding of pathologic alteration.

Human Anatomy

This course is based on a well-established Alpert Medical School first year course. It has been adapted for students in the Master of Medical Sciences Program (ScM) within Alpert Medical School’s Gateways Program. Material covered in this course is closely linked to material in 3 other required courses in the Fall Semester of the Masters Program, thus providing students with an integrated understanding of the foundational principles relative to the study of human health and disease. Exams are integrated exams covering material in all 4 courses. The course lectures are the same as the corresponding first year medical student course. The laboratory sessions are "hands-on" and highly interactive and are uniquely designed to meet the needs of Masters students.  Because of the unique nature of the relationship between this course, the 3 other courses and the Alpert Medical School schedule, Human Anatomy 1 (MED 2160) is only open to students in the Gateways Program.                 

General Pathology

Small GroupGeneral Pathology a well established first year medical school course. Pathology is the study of the causes, mechanisms, and consequences of disease. In General Pathology (Fall Semester) students build on material learned earlier in the semester in the Human Histology course to learn about the fundamental causes and processes involved in the pathogenesis of major human diseases. An important goal is to study in detail the cell and tissue alterations that lead to the production of disease. To uncover such alterations, morphological observations are correlated with studies involving molecular biology, biochemistry, and genetics. In studying the pathogenesis of human disease we pay close attention to epidemiological parameters, population health, aging, and to environmental and occupational health problems. General Pathology been integrated, whenever possible, with other courses in the Fall Semester, in order to maximize learning opportunities.

Scientific Foundations of Medicine (SFM)       

SFM is a well established first year medical school course. It is an integrated cross-disciplinary course that introduces the fundamental basic science principles relevant to the study of health, disease mechanisms and clinical medicine. As such the course consists of six blocks of core topics that incorporate foundational principles of molecular biology, cellular and metabolic biochemistry, nutritional science, cell physiology, inheritance patterns and mechanisms of genetic disorders, and immunology. Grounding in these scientific principles gives students insight into the biological complexity and genetic diversity that underlies disease processes.

Patient Care in Complex Systems I 

This course, tailored for Master of Medical Sciences students, introduces students to the wide variety of complex factors affecting health and well-being. The goal of the course is to impart both theoretical and practical knowledge and skills, including the ability to work well with members of a team. The course will be delivered in an interactive seminar-style format with longitudinal, required, experiential learning and field work in a community health center (CHC) site with members of multidisciplinary healthcare teams. Experiential learning and field work will both solidify concepts learned in class and provide first-hand healthcare experiences for in-depth discussion in small groups. As students progress through the year we will work with CHC leadership to transition students to service learning roles that are helpful to the CHC and patients (eg. patient navigators). Topics covered will include: the American healthcare system, social determinants of health, the role and training of interdisciplinary healthcare team members, practical quality improvement skills, and epidemiology. Students will be mentored in developing a focused, feasible project at their clinical sites in collaboration with the healthcare team at their site. The project will be implemented in spring semester. Students’ knowledge and skills acquisition will be assessed using multiple methods including: seminar participation, reflective essays/field notes, regular attendance at required field work sites, and assessment from community mentors.

Brain Science & Neurology (includes Head & Neck Anatomy)

ClassroomThis is a well established first year medical school organ systems course. Brain Sciences is composed of several interrelated components - Head Anatomy, Neurobiology, Neuropathophysiology, Neuropathology and Neuropharmacology. The intent of the course is to encourage the integration of underlying neuroanatomy and basic science principles with an understanding of the presentation and management of neurological diseases. Course leaders from each of these disciplines have worked closely together in order to present the material in a cohesive and logical framework that promotes the sequential acquisition of new information based upon a substantive understanding of the previous material.                                                                         

In the Head Anatomy portion of this course, students learn about the functional and developmental anatomy of the head. This study is aided by review of prosections of the head and brain. The Neurobiology section is designed to acquaint students with the major structures and functions of the nervous system and to prepare them for understanding clinical problems in the Neuropathophysiology section of the course. Neurobiology builds on the cell physiology and introductory material that students learned in the Fall semester. By the end of the Neurobiology section, students should be able to identify key components of the brain and spinal cord on external views, cross-sections, and neuroimaging examinations. Students should also understand the operation of important neural systems and pathways and be able to apply this knowledge to clinical localization of neurologic dysfunction. In the Neuropathophysiology section of the course students gain an introductory level knowledge of the field of Neurology, including how neurologists determine the structures and pathways that are dysfunctional in neurological diseases.

Microbiology and Infectious Disease

Microbiology and Infectious Disease is a well established first year medical school organ systems course. It is an integrated course that introduces the basic biological principles, pathogenesis and host response, disease presentation, epidemiology, control and treatment of parasites, viruses, fungi and bacteria that cause human disease. Emphasis is placed on a subset of the most clinically significant and best characterized pathogens in each group. The Microbiology component of the course provides a foundation in the characteristics of disease-causing microorganisms (physiology, growth, structure, genetics, life cycles), mechanisms and routes of transmission, immunity, and the mechanisms by which specific microbial pathogens cause disease, with emphasis on unique properties, identification, virulence determinants, and host damage. Traditional and modern diagnostic methods in microbiology are also introduced. Microbial disease states in multiple organ systems are addressed in the Infectious Disease component of the course. Focus is given to common infectious disease syndromes and their clinical presentation, prevention, and diagnostic strategies among children, adults, and the elderly. Disease manifestations among immunodeficient persons including solid organ transplant patients, patients with HIV and AIDS and patients receiving chemotherapy are also reviewed.

Patient Care in Complex Systems II 

(Includes community project implementation & presentation)
This course, tailored for Master of Medical Sciences students, builds on the concepts and skills developed in the summer and fall semester courses.  Students will continue their study of both theoretical and practical aspects of healthcare through participation in an interactive seminar series, continued service learning and field work at their longitudinal community health center site, and completion of their small-scale community/quality improvement project.  Seminar topics covered will include: care of vulnerable populations, environmental health, population health, new models of healthcare delivery, ethical issues in healthcare, whole-person health, cultural humility, introduction to complementary and alternative medicine, and patient advocacy.   Students will receive both faculty and peer mentoring on a regular basis in order to facilitate progress on their community project.  Projects will be presented in a poster presentation session towards the end of the semester and as brief oral presentations during class.  Students’ knowledge and skills acquisition will be assessed using multiple methods including: seminar participation, reflective essays, regular attendance at required field work sites, assessment from community mentors (multidisciplinary), and quality of project and presentation.