Health Sciences Preparatory Program

Overview | Admissions | Tuition, Fees & Financial Aid | Curriculum


The HSPP curriculum takes place over the full academic year and consists of two components described in more detail below:
1. A core lecture/lab section.
2. A professional skills section.

Fall Session: 8/9/13 – 12/20/13
Spring Session: 1/2/14 – 5/30/14 

Core Curriculum

1. HSP500 Biochemistry - 5 credits (equivalent to SOM “Building Working Cells & Tissues”)
2. HSP502 Medical Physiology & Histology - 6 credits (equivalent to part of SOM “Development, Structure & Function”)
3. HSP503 Epidemiology/Biostatistics - 3 credits
For all courses, on average each hr of class time requires 2 hr of additional preparation time.

Course Descriptions

HSP500 Biochemistry (Course Leader, William Royer, PhD)
The goals of the course are to:
• Integrate key principles of biochemistry, physiology, and cell and tissue histology.
• Advance understanding of molecular structures, interactions and processes that promote and regulate cellular function.
• Provide students with foundational material for understanding organ structure, physiology and disease states to be covered in subsequent courses.

Learning Objectives for the course - students who successfully complete this course should be able to:
• Identify and describe molecular and macromolecular structures (such as proteins, carbohydrates, DNA, RNA, membranes, ribosomes, etc.) and their physical properties.
• Explain the catalytic behavior of enzymes and determine how various enzyme modulators (inhibitors, allosteric activators, etc.) affect enzyme function.
• Summarize the major metabolic pathways and the entry and exit points for substrates, products and allosteric regulators.
• Understand the basis for disease states resulting from dysregulation of metabolic processes.
• Identify important cellular structures and cell types from microscopy images.
• Understand the basis for generation of cellular membrane potentials and how they are used in the production of action potentials.
• Know how the structure of the four basic tissue types contributes to their function.

HSP502A & 502B Medical Physiology & Histology (Course Leader, Julie Jonassen, PhD)
The goals of the course are to provide:
• A study of basic human physiology, which is the biological study of the functions of living organisms and their parts.
• A study of the microscopic anatomy of the cellular organization and structure of individual tissues and organ systems.

Learning Objectives for the course - at the completion of this course the student will be able to:
• Describe normal physiological function of each major organ system (heart/vessels, lung, GI, renal, reproductive and endocrine) and interactions among organ systems at a whole organism level, and demonstrate an understanding of normal physiological homeostatic processes.
• Develop an understanding of how normal physiological function depends on communication and feedback at the cellular, organ, and systemic levels.
• Use clinical data to predict and identify adaptations to changing internal demands or to normal or abnormal external stresses, including the loss- or gain- of function of a particular molecule, cell type, tissue or organ.
• Make accurate histological observations of basic cell, tissue and organ structure in virtual slides and in light and electron micrographs.
• Identify and describe normal tissue composition of each organ including the major properties of its primary cells, blood supply, lymphatic drainage, and innervation.
• Compare and contrast relationships between cell and tissue structure and physiological function at cellular, tissue and organ levels.

HSP503 Epidemiology/Biostatistics (Course Leader, Michael Kneeland, MD, MPH)
The goals of the course are to:
• Explain the role of statistics in clinical research.
• Explain the principles of study design in clinical research.

Learning Objectives for the course - upon course completion, students will be competent to:
• Articulate the strengths and weaknesses of the various epidemiology study designs.
• Interpret epidemiology terms and basic biostatistics used in the medical literature.
• Competently critique a randomized controlled trial, cohort study and case control studies.
• Synthesize information from the internet, electronic journals, and data sites to evaluate the effectiveness of epidemiology studies as they pertain to evidence based medicine.

Professional Skills Curriculum

1. HSP504 Academic Achievement – 2 credits
2. HSP505 Clinical Medicine – 2 credits
3. HSP506 Clinical Immersion – 2 credits

Course Descriptions

HSP504A & 504B - Academic Achievement (Course Co-Leaders, Deborah Harmon Hines, PhD and Kendall L. Knight, PhD).
This course includes the following 3 elements.
• Academic Coaching: Sessions with education specialist and student mentors (3 hours contact/wk – can be in small groups and 1:1 sessions based on students’ needs) to evaluate individual learning styles, adapt/develop study skills, test prep, exam review, error analysis, time management.
• Group study sessions: (2 hours/wk) – 1 hour student group discussion/preparation; 1 hour with course-specific faculty, alternating weekly.
• HSPP advisor meetings: (0.5 hours/wk) - individual (one per month) and group meeting (one per month) with HSPP advisors. Specific activities include rewrite of application/personal statement (fall), MCAT prep, interview skills (early spring).

Learning Objectives for the course:
• Analyze, adapt and improve approach to study/test taking to optimize results and efficiency; measured by CAA (Center for Academic Achievement) interactions, logs, reflections and course performance (Physician as Professional).
• Develop interprofessional and collaborative approaches to learning; measured by CAA, faculty and small group observations, logs, reflection (Physician as Professional).
• Improve written (application) and verbal presentation skills (interview); measured by faculty observation of presentation and assessment of written products including journal (Physician as Communicator).

HSP505 - Clinical Medicine (Course co-leaders, Melissa Fischer, MD, MEd and Christine Woolf, PhD).
This 2 credit course is offered in the spring semester and offers small group sessions and shadowing experiences in outpatient and inpatient settings. The shadowing includes working with physicians and other team members for six 3-hour clinical sessions. Other course requirements include assigned reading of 2 novels and other appropriate readings with related assignments and small group discussions on becoming a physician and the US healthcare system.
The goals of the course are for students to:
• Develop understanding of models of care and responsibility of individual team members.
• Introduce basic concepts of patient interaction including privacy and safety.
• Advance understanding of asking and answering clinically-related questions using online and other resources.
• Reflect on the process of becoming a physician in the US healthcare system.

Learning Objectives for the course - students who successfully complete this course should be able to:
• Discuss models of medical care and how they impact care provided based on experience and readings (Physician as Professional, Clinical Problem Solver, Advocate).
• Report professional skills for each member of the team through direct experience with members of multiple professions (Physician as Professional, Communicator);
• Prepare and present 15 minute presentations on common illnesses seen in the clinical setting (Physician as Scientist, Communicator);
• Reflect on entry to the medical profession through reading and discussion of texts and clinical experiences.

HSP506 – Clinical Immersion (Course Co-leaders, Sharina Person, PhD and Jeroan Allison, MD).
This course introduces students to healthcare research and allows students to apply their knowledge of biostatistics in a research or community project experience.
The goals of the course are to:
• Develop understanding of the relationship between research or community programs and the healthcare system through an immersion experience relevant to medical care (Physician as Professional, Scientist, Advocate depending on experience).
• Apply biostatistics to utilization of individual experience and data (Physician as Scientist).
• Build necessary skills for the creation and presentation of a scientific/professional poster (Physician as Scientist, Communicator, Professional).

Learning Objectives for the course - students who successfully complete this course should be able to:
• Discuss the relevance of their immersion experience in a research lab or community organization to medical care (Physician as Professional, Scientist, Advocate depending on experience). Assessed through student writing, small group participation and preceptor assessment.
• Apply basic biostatistics to utilization of individual experience and data (Physician as Scientist). Assessed through review of a poster presentation that demonstrates correct application and manipulation of data, preceptor assessment.
• Create a scientific or professional poster (Physician as Scientist, Communicator, Professional). Assessed through use of a poster rubric (adapted from Senior Scholars).
• Present a scientific or professional poster in a public forum (Physician as Communicator, Professional). Assessed through use of a poster presentation rubric (adapted from Senior Scholars).