Skip to main content

Phase 1

Principles of Medical Science and Practice

Traditional medical education divides basic sciences from clinical learning, devoting two academic years to classroom learning of the basic sciences. Our curriculum focuses on phases rather than academic years. Every phase includes learning in the basic sciences, clinical knowledge and health system leadership.

Let’s take a look at the pre-clinical phase. It begins when a student enters Geisinger Commonwealth and ends in January of the learner’s second year. This stands in contrast to a traditional structure that requires six more months to move learners into their clinical phase.

Our pre-clinical phase has six sets of “bookends." They are depicted as vertical boxes:

  • Orientation to integrated review weeks and winter break. Integrated review weeks are dedicated to activities that bring together all the knowledge and skills mastered in the preceding weeks.
  • Winter break to spring break.
  • Spring break to integrated review weeks.
  • Capping off the first year of Phase 1 is the 8-week summer break that provides students an opportunity to participate in research or other activities during that break time.
  • Summer break to integrated review weeks.
  • The Integrative Review Capstone (IRC) that forms the final “bookend” includes complex patient encounters and challenging multi-system diagnostic problems which allow the learner to integrate previously acquired knowledge, including the complexities of the social determinants of health, healthcare disparities and how a patient interacts with a health system. This semester also includes the Preparation for Licensure Course, which culminates in students sitting for their USMLE Step 1 exam.
GCSOM MD Total Health Curriculum: Phase 1 – Principles of Medical Science and Practice
At a glance: Phase 1 – Principles of Medical Science and Practice

Phase 1 has just two courses: ISC and PPCC

Integrated Science Course (ISC): ISC consists of blocks of clinical presentations of disease. Each block will have an exam and time will be built in for self-directed learning. Students will be required to prepare in advance for class discussions and activities. The blocks of clinical presentations of disease are, in the order presented:

  • Principles of medicine
  • Dermatology and musculoskeletal
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Cardiopulmonary
  • Renal
  • Hematology
  • Endocrine/reproduction
  • Neuroscience/psychiatry

Physician and Patient Centered Care (PPCC): PPCC focuses on connecting to humanity and humanism — the learner’s own, as well as that of peers and patients who will benefit from our professional skills, knowledge and presence. The goal is to illustrate the need for and the benefits of collaborative approaches and efforts for advancements in health, health policies and clinical practices among the fields of clinical medicine, research epidemiology, biostatistics and public health. This broad vision course addresses physicians’ unique relationship to individual patients, as well as clinical skills development, professionalism, cultural awareness, legal and moral values, and quality improvement.