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Administration Basic Sciences Clinical Sciences Centers of Excellence

Office of Medical Education
2020 Gravier Street
Suite 602
New Orleans, LA 70112
Phone: 504-568-4006
Fax: 504-599-1453



Undergraduate Medical Education


The LSU School of Medicine implements a significant renewal of the curriculum in 2015-16.  The Office of Undergraduate Medical Education led an exciting planning effort that began in 2012-13.  This effort involved hundreds of faculty and students, and included school-wide surveys, hours of focus group discussions, a re-organization of the curriculum committee structure, faculty workshops, and countless hours of faculty meetings to conduct detailed planning.  There was much about our previous curriculum that was excellent.  We retained those elements that work best for students, and made improvements that will facilitate student learning and professional growth.   

The primary goals of curriculum renewal are 1) to improve students’ critical thinking skills through additional active learning sessions, 2) to decrease the time spent in lecture by eliminating unnecessary redundancies, 3) to provide better integration of clinical and basic sciences, and better integration across the basic science disciplines themselves, and 4) to provide students with more opportunities for early clinical involvement and career exploration.  Other goals address some specific content areas in which we felt that we could improve: genetics, behavioral science, interprofessional education, cultural competence, epidemiology, biostatistics, and health systems.

The first year curriculum begins with specific time devoted to professionalism, diagnostic reasoning, and how to ‘learn’ in medical school.  Foundational courses in gross anatomy, physiology, cell biology, and biochemistry are retained, but reorganized and better integrated with clinical education.  Students still take a full dissection gross anatomy course in the first semester, as this has been an area of strength in our curriculum.  Separate short courses in genetics, behavioral science, immunology, and population medicine (which includes epidemiology, biostatistics, disease prevention, the structure and financing of our health system, and quality improvement) are added because they are foundational sciences of increasing importance in modern medicine.  Finally, the Science and Practice of Medicine 100 course (which was developed in conjunction with the creation of our student learning center in 2001) is redesigned.  This course is more fully integrated with the basic science courses, and provides even greater emphasis on skills instruction and skills assessment than it has in the past.  This includes the skills of interviewing, physical exam, procedures, and critical thinking. 

The second year curriculum (beginning in 2016-17) will be entirely reorganized.  The discipline based courses of pathology, clinical pathology, microbiology, and pharmacology will be fully integrated into organ system courses that reinforce the clinical context of all instruction.  We will begin with a course called Foundations of Disease and Therapy, which provides the basic concepts and nomenclature from these disciplines.  After this course, the remainder of the year will be organized around organ system modules: hematologic, neurologic-psychiatric, musculo-skeletal & dermatologic, cardiovascular, pulmonary, renal, gastro-intestinal, and endocrine-reproductive.  The teaching of pathology, microbiology, and pharmacology will be integrated in each block, and will be organized in a way that emphasizes disease process and management in a clinical framework.  The Science and Practice of Medicine 200 course (which was developed in 2002) will be redesigned to provide even greater opportunities for skills training on clinical rounds, exploring areas of interest, and career development.

Throughout both years, we will emphasize critical thinking through the use of concept maps, illness scripts, deliberate practice, self-directed learning, and ongoing feedback.  New pedagogical methods such as team based learning and question analysis are incorporated throughout the curriculum.  We believe that these changes will have many positive effects.  Students should be better prepared for board exams, for clinical clerkships, and for practice in today’s changing healthcare system.


Richard DiCarlo, MD
Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education

Robin English, MD
Director of Clinical Science Curriculum

Michael Levitzky, PhD
Director of Basic Science Curriculum

Pam Galindo, JD
Coordinator, Undergraduate Medical Education

Office of Undergraduate Medical Education 
LSUHSC, School of Medicine 
2020 Gravier St., Suite 602 
New Orleans, LA 70112
504-568-4620 (Phone)
504-599-1453 (Fax)