Basic Science Program
The Basic Science Program, consisting of semesters 1-4, is held at our state of the art campus located on the exotic Caribbean Island of St. Kitts. We offer a traditional medical school curriculum modeled after schools in the United States. The curriculum utilizes problem-based learning, with an emphasis on clinical correlations. A thorough knowledge of the basic biomedical sciences is emphasized, and students are introduced to history taking, physical exam skills, and problem solving techniques beginning in the first semester with Physical Diagnosis.
Our Basic Science faculty are highly credentialed and recruited primarily from the United States. We maintain a low student to faculty ratio to ensure students receive a quality education where student success is paramount.
A compelling differentiator at UMHS is the students’ access to a variety of clinical settings. Not only are students involved at community health centers, local hospitals, and with professional patients, but they also have access to our virtual hospital ward on the campus.
Students have access to the simulation lab throughout the Basic Science Program where it is utilized during Physical Diagnosis, Physiology, and Introduction to Clinical Medicine. In the lab students work with cutting edge human simulators in a 24 bed hospital ward setting to integrate their Basic Science Program in a clinically relevant manner. Very few schools both in the United States and Caribbean have simulation centers that can compare.
During the Basic Science Program at UMHS, students take comprehensive block examinations at various points throughout each semester. UMHS has also incorporated the NBME shelf examinations into the academic program. Shelf examinations are made up of questions that are similar in style and content to those questions on the USMLE. As a result, throughout the Basic Science Program students are preparing for Step I.
These examinations are typically offered at the end of each semester as finals. Students will be provided with a complete analysis of each exam which shows both strengths and weaknesses as well as how they compare to students in the United States. These are the same examinations that U.S. medical students take.
UMHS also uses ExamSoft for examinations. Please visit the link below for ExamSoft requirements.
Laptop Computers/Wireless Campus
To maximize use of the technology capabilities on campus, all students are required to bring a laptop computer to class.
The entire campus is wireless, and the students have full access to faculty powerpoint lectures and notes inside and outside of class. Following the U.S. standard, UMHS provides students with a digitally enhanced database of histological images to be used throughout the course.
Through our Bacus System, students use their computers to manipulate images and annotate each slide live on virtual web based microscope. The Bacus Histological database can be accessed any time from home, class, or anywhere on campus.
Basic Science Curriculum
|Gross and Developmental Anatomy||11 Credits|
|Cell and Molecular Biology||6 Credits|
|Medical Ethics||1 Credits|
|Physical Diagnosis||2 Credits|
|Biostatistics and Epidemiology||2 Credits|
|Pathology I||9 Credits|
|Behavioral Sciences||5 Credits|
|Pathology II||12 Credits|
|Pharmacology and Therapeutics||7 Credits|
|Introduction to Clinical Medicine I||6 Credits|
Basic Science Curriculum
Gross and Developmental Anatomy
Anatomy focuses on the gross structure of organs and function and, through clinical correlations, relates each to clinical medicine. An Anatomical Learning Resource Center has been established to utilize computer-based instruction, anatomical models, radiographic materials as well as supervised laboratory sessions dissecting various parts of the human body. Students study the structure and function of all organs with some interaction with cellular structure. This course incorporates an understanding of how embryological processes give rise to the mature body form. When this course is complete, each student will have extensive knowledge of the gross anatomy and development of the entire human body as it relates clinically to the practice of medicine.
This course centers on the study of the microscopic structure of normal human cells, tissues, and organs. Virtual microscopy is used to study the structure of basic tissue types and their integration into organs and organ systems. The lectures correlate microscopic and gross anatomy with basic histophysiology and function of organ systems. On completion, the student must be able to identify, describe, and give function of cells, tissues, structures, and organs of the human body presented via lecture and digital imagery. Students must complete specific performance objectives which accompany individual lecture segments, and, where appropriate, be able to integrate histology with other classes of the curriculum.
Cell and Molecular Biology
This course develops the necessary understanding of how the cell functions at the cellular, organelle and molecular levels. Students are exposed to a wide variety of topics, such as cell structures and their functions, membrane transport, signal transduction, DNA replication and repair, transcription, translation, regulation of gene expression, cancer and molecular biology techniques.
Medical Ethics is designed to introduce ethical, professional and legal issues that arise in the practice of medicine. This course provides an overview of the salient issues for students, tools used to recognize ethical, professional and legal conflicts in clinical settings, and resources to critically examine and address questions and concerns these conflicts present in patient care.
Introduction to Physical Diagnosis
Physical Diagnosis I is designed to provide early exposure to clinical medicine. Students are instructed in patient interviewing and communication skills. They also receive hands on examination skills in the musculoskeletal system using simulated and standardized patients. Additionally, clinical correlations and medical imaging are presented in conjunction with the Gross and Developmental Anatomy course. Professionalism in doctor-patient, doctor-doctor, and doctor-society interaction is stressed.
Physiology concentrates on how the various organ systems that comprise the human body function. The major objective of this course is to enable the student to acquire a sound understanding of the mechanisms upon which life depends through an integrated study of the many control systems that maintain homeostasis. Emphasis is placed on the mechanisms that maintain a homeostasis under a variety of conditions. The course begins with a study of basic physiological principles, such as, the transport of ions, intracellular signaling, osmosis, membranes and their electrical properties. Following the presentation of the basic principles of cellular physiology, which includes muscle and nerve, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, gastrointestinal, endocrines, reproductive physiology are taught and integrated into total body function. Temperature regulation and the integrated physiological responses to exercise and adverse environments are also presented. Most disease conditions result from abnormal functioning (i.e., disturbance of homeostasis) of one or more of the basic control systems. Thus it is of fundamental importance that the future physician understands these regulatory mechanisms taught in this basic medical science course. After completing the course, students will have a clear understanding of how the major systems of the body operate in an integrated fashion necessary to maintain a homeostatic state. (Pre-requisites: Completion of Gross and Devolpmental Anatomy, Cell and Molecular Biology, and Histology)
This course focuses on the interrelationship and regulation of metabolic pathways as it pertains to understanding the mechanism of disease states. The student is prepared accordingly through a discussion of the principles of biochemistry including anabolic and catabolic reactions as permitted by the generation and use of energy. Biochemical mechanisms are utilized to justify particular signs and symptoms noted in certain clinical conditions. In so doing a comprehensive understanding of the metabolism of Proteins, Carbohydrates, Lipids and other Nitrogen containing molecules is achieved. (Pre-requsites: Completion or co-enrollment of Cell and Molecular Biology, and Histology)
This course provides a description of the human genome including the details of DNA, gene, and chromosome structure, the basics of gene expression, and the various forms of inheritance. The overall goal is to use this knowledge to better understand the molecular mechanisms of how genetic mutations lead to the single gene and complex disorders described in the textbook case studies. Specific course topics include gene mapping and disease gene identification, the treatment of genetic disease, prenatal diagnosis, cancer genetics, and pharmacogenetics. (Pre-requisite: Completion of Cell and Molecular Biology)
Biostatistics and Epidemiology
The prinicples of biostatistics are introduced in this course, emphasizing both the practice of interviewing and collecting data. The epidemiology of disease and concepts of Public Health and Industrial Medicine are also covered in this course. Finally, the course will end with discussions of broad issues related to health care delivery, health care legislation and costs, and a comparative discussion of health care systems. (Pre-requisite: None)
The course begins with a general overview and introduction to the immune system including a description of the cells and tissues involved with innate and adaptive immunity. This is followed by descriptions of the molecular and cellular mechanisms employed in innate immune responses, and for those used in the humoral and cell-mediated arms of adaptive immunity. This includes the details of antigen processing and presentation by antigen presenting cells and the central role of MHC molecules in this process. The maturation and selection of B and T lymphocytes and the production of the diverse antigen receptors required for lymphocyte activation are also described in detail.
The pathways of lymphocyte activation are followed by an explanation for the generation of the different effector functions and memory cells produced during a humoral or cell-mediated response. The last half of the course is focused on more clinically related topics including tolerance and autoimmunity, transplantation and immunosuppression, immunotherapy strategies against tumors, hypersensitivity, and the consequences of congenital immunodeficiencies. The course ends with a description of the tools and assays of immune functions. (Pre-requisite: Completion of or co-enrollment in Histology)
Pathology introduces students to the cellular system of each organ and traces the morphological changes in a cell that are responsible for a disease in an organ. As cells undergo alteration, their change in function is studied in respect to its deviation from the "normal" state. Course presentation includes the response of cells, tissues and organs to disease and injury; the normal and adapted cell; degeneration and necrosis, inflammation, fluid and hemodynamic derangements; neoplasia; immunopathology; systemic, environmental and nutritional disease. Lecture discussions are supplemented by a study of gross and microscopic specimens. (Pre-requisites: Completion of Genetics, Biochemistry, and Physiology)
Neuroscience begins with an overview of the entire nervous system. As the course progresses, the focus is on comprehending the basic structure and function of each level of the nervous system, integrating both the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system. The principles that underlie the anatomical structure of each system of the brain are correlated with its physiology; correlations between the functional deficits and the pathological anatomy in several neurological diseases which require working knowledge of anatomy and physiology are stressed. Special attention is given to integrating current understandings of human neurological and psychiatric diseases, and each topic is supplemented by relevant lab exercises which include detailed brain dissection and exposure to angiograms, CT scans, MRI, etc. (Pre-requisites: Completion of Gross and Developmental Anatomy and Physiology)
Microbiology teaches students the basic concepts of infectious disease in a lecture and laboratory setting. The goal of the course is for students to gain a basic knowledge and understanding of microbial diagnosis of Bacteria, Viruses, Fungus, Protozoa and Parasites. The etiology, pathogenesis and genetics of bacterial infection are key foundations to the study of microbes. Students will learn the symptoms that help in diagnosis of a patient and how these symptoms relate to disease. Prevention of disease such as vaccines, hand washing and sterilization and disinfection are stressed as well as the treatment of infectious disease. In the laboratory, students perform the techniques needed to identify and inform treatment strategies for a variety of gram positive as well as gram negative bacteria. Case studies are used in laboratory sessions to enhance the learning experience and provide a well rounded educational experience. (Pre-requisite: Completion of Histology)
Behavioral Sciences stresses the complex relationship between psychological make-up and experience, by providing a knowledge base for normative and non-normative human development throughout the life cycle. The course also introduces the student to the behavioral basis of clinical medicine by focusing on common behavioral problems and the circumstances that evoke important behavioral / emotional responses. The concept of culturally competent care will be defined, and the basics of recognizing organic and functional psychological disturbances are described. Workshops on realistic clinical problems are an integral part of this course; sexual dysfunction, bereavement, suicide and sociological disorders received detailed attention. Additionally, the student should develop increased insight into personal functioning and feelings and develop the skills needed to act as an empathetic and effective interviewer and behavioral change agent. (Pre-requisite: None)
Pathology II applies the basic concepts learned in Pathology I to continue the study of pathologic basis of disease using a physiologic system, or organ-based approach. This course covers red and white cell diseases, male and female genital tracts, and kidney and liver systems. Course presentations include etiology, pathogenesis and morphologic changes in diseases according to organ system. Appropriate use of the laboratory is stressed in the diagnosis of disease while case presentations further emphasize the clinical aspects of the pathologic processes. (Pre-requisite: Completion of Pathology I)
Pharmacology & Therapeutics
This course concentrates on how chemical agents (drugs) regulate or modify physiological functions of the body, demonstrating how interactions of drugs with living organisms contribute to diagnosis, prevention, treatment or cure of diseases. Biologic responses, physiological alterations and correction of disorder or disease are discussed for each drug class highlighting receptor interaction, which defines the agent's boundaries of efficacy. Because pharmacology and therapeutics is an integrated science, strong attempt is made to maintain this integrated approach in lectures, tutorials and case studies. Major emphasis will be on principles of pharmacogenetics (pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, adverse drug reactions, teratogenicity, etc.) as well as therapeutics of common drugs used in infectious disease, malignant diseases, and endocrinal disorders. (Pre-requisites: All semester 1 and 2 courses, Microbiology, Behavioral Science, and completion or co-enrollment in Pathology I)
Introduction to Clinical Medicine
This course is designed to introduce students to the basic skills they will need to function as effective clinicians. History taken and physical examination skills are taught in practical classes using the latest technological media, including Laerdal patient stimulators (adult, pediatric and adolescent). The course addresses a range of clinical skills necessary for the future development as a physician, including clinical assessment and plan for the care of patients using library and computer search of evidence based information for patient care. Didactics are blended with laboratory date interpretation, radiology and other imaging techniques, and electrocardiography, introducing core medical information ready for the third and fourth years of clinical training. Critical emphasis is on the development of ethical standards, specialization, as well as education and licensing requirements in the various states. Class size is small-group to facilitate free discussion and pertinent technique demonstrations. (Pre-requisites: All courses in Semesters 1-3, co-enrollment in or completion of Pathology II)
Students enrolled in this program are required to complete the courses in the order listed above. Any student wishing to enroll in a course out of sequence or without the necessary pre-requisites must formally submit a request in writing to the Basic Science Dean by noon local time, of the Wednesday prior to the start of the semester. The student must include his/her correct email address in this request. Any letters submitted after the deadline will not be considered. All students in the process of review are responsible for attending all courses origonally scheduled for that student unitl offically told otherwise in writing or in an email by the Basic Science Dean. Any class absences approved during this time period will be on the students class record and cannot be used as justification for not continuing with the course.