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Program Curriculum

The Carver College of Medicine's MPA curriculum uses an innovative approach that focuses on the integration of basic sciences with clinical application, exposes students to earlier clinical activities, and prepares them for team-based practice. Didactic coursework is completed with an interprofessional education focus alongside medical students. The PA Program curriculum is 28-months in length and is a total of 128 semester-hours of coursework.

The innovative curriculum consists of a three strand-based education model that extend throughout the MPA curriculum. The three strands of the triple helix curriculum are the Mechanisms of Health and Disease strand, the Medicine and Society strand, and the Clinical and Professional Skills strand.

Mechanism of Health and Disease (MOHD)

The Mechanisms of Health and Disease (MOHD) curricular strand is comprised of six multi-system mechanisms. MOHD I and III cover the mechanisms of Oxygenation, Metabolism, and Genetics/Development.

MOHD II and IV cover the mechanisms of Immunology/Inflammation, Locomotion/Integument, and Neuropsychiatry.

MOHD Keystones course is a transition between classroom instruction in mechanisms of health and disease and clinical practice; foundational information from mechanisms of health and disease sequence approached from perspective of what is commonly encountered in clinics; application of information to making diagnostic, and management decisions of common important clinical problem.

MOHD Foundations

The Foundations course incorporates genetics, embryology, molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology, and histology. Students will learn the molecular events required for cellular life and describe how cells grow and interact to form the basic tissues of the human body. This course provides the necessary framework to begin to explore the six Mechanisms of Health and Disease.

MOHD I

MOHD I and III cover the mechanisms of Oxygenation, Metabolism, and Genetics/Development.

Oxygenation is the story of how molecular oxygen is acquired from the atmosphere, crosses membranes, binds to hemoglobin, and is pumped through the cardiovascular system to individual tissues and cells. Also, it includes the generation and disposal of carbon dioxide and other gases. Ischemia is the result of inadequate delivery of oxygen with resultant damage to or dysfunction of tissue.

Metabolism is the story of appetite, food consumption, digestion within and absorption from the gastrointestinal tract and its microbiome, and transport to the liver and other tissues. It is also the story of how metabolic products, medications and other substances are detoxified and excreted via the liver, GI tract and kidney. At the cellular level, this story includes how the body generates energy-rich phosphate compounds in a tissue-specific fashion to fuel the energy-requiring processes the body uses to maintain homeostasis, grow, reproduce, and move. Hormonal modulation of these homeostatic processes is an important aspect of this mechanism. Disorders of these processes can result in disruption of internal homeostasis.

Genetics/Development is the story of development from conception through embryonic development and birth through childhood to adulthood and aging. At the cellular level, it encompasses how individual cells reproduce into fully differentiated multicellular tissues. Hormonal modulation of these processes is an important aspect of this mechanism. Disorders of growth or division of cells are the basis for congenital disorders and cancers.

MOHD II

MOHD II begins to cover the mechanisms of Immunology/Inflammation, Locomotion/Integument, and Neuropsychiatry.

Immunology/Inflammation is the story of how the body differentiates self from non-self, and how it maintains homeostasis in the face of non-self. Included are the role of the microbiome, in which self and non-self live symbiotically and influence immune maturation as well as the disordered recognition of self. Disruptions within this mechanism are the basis for infectious diseases as well as a number of rheumatologic conditions.

Locomotion/Integument is the story of the erect body and its coordinated movement. Included is the integument and its roles in demarcating self from the external environment, thermostasis and immunology. Disorders of this mechanism result in impaired mobility and protection from the external environment.

Neuropsychiatry is the story of the complex neural networks that enable rapid reception and transmission of sensory information; its interpretation, processing and integration; and equally rapid transduction into an appropriate response. Included are the higher functions central to what it means to be human (cognition, memory, emotion) and problems encountered in living. This includes interactions within families and larger social groups. At the cellular level this mechanism includes ion channels, neural and neuromuscular junctions, and neurotransmitters.

MOHD III

MOHD III continues to cover the mechanisms of Oxygenation, Metabolism, and Genetics/Development.

Oxygenation is the story of how molecular oxygen is acquired from the atmosphere, crosses membranes, binds to hemoglobin and is pumped through the cardiovascular system to individual tissues and cells. It also includes the generation and disposal of carbon dioxide as well as other gases. Ischemia is the result of inadequate delivery of oxygen with resultant damage to or dysfunction of tissue.

Metabolism is the story of appetite, food consumption, digestion within and absorption from the gastro-intestinal tract and its microbiome, and transport to the liver and other tissues. It is also the story of how metabolic products, medications and other substances are detoxified and excreted via the liver, GI tract, and kidney. At the cellular level this story includes how the body generates energy-rich phosphate compounds in a tissue specific fashion to fuel the energy-requiring processes the body uses to maintain homeostasis, grow, reproduce, and move.  

Hormonal modulation of these homeostatic processes is an important aspect of this mechanism. Disorders of these processes can result in disruption of internal homeostasis.Genetics/Development is the story of development from conception through embryonic development and birth through childhood to adulthood and aging. At the cellular level it encompasses how individual cells reproduce into fully differentiated multicellular tissues. Hormonal modulation of these processes is an important aspect of this mechanism. Disorders of growth or division of cells are the basis for congenital disorders and cancers. 

MOHD IV

MOHD IV continues to cover the mechanisms of Immunology/Inflammation, Locomotion/Integument, and Neuropsychiatry.

Immunology/Inflammation is the story of how the body differentiates self from non-self, and how it maintains homeostasis in the face of non-self. Included are the role of the microbiome, in which self and non-self live symbiotically and influence immune maturation as well as the disordered recognition of self. Disruptions within this mechanism are the basis for infectious diseases as well as a number of rheumatologic conditions.

Locomotion/Integument is the story of the erect body and its coordinated movement. Included is the integument and its roles in demarcating self from the external environment, thermostasis and immunology. Disorders of this mechanism result in impaired mobility and protection from the external environment.

Neuropsychiatry is the story of the complex neural networks that enable rapid reception and transmission of sensory information; its interpretation, processing and integration; and equally rapid transduction into an appropriate response. Included are the higher functions central to what it means to be human (cognition, memory, emotion) and problems encountered in living. This includes interactions within families and larger social groups. At the cellular level this mechanism includes ion channels, neural and neuromuscular junctions, and neurotransmitters.

MOHD Keystone

The Keystone course sits at the transition between classroom instruction in the mechanisms of health and disease and clinical practice. In this course the foundational information from the mechanisms of health and disease sequence will be approached from the perspective of what is commonly encountered in the clinics. Students can expect to sharpen their skills with respect to application of that information to make diagnostic and management decisions of common important clinical problems.

Clinical and Professional Skills (CAPS)

Clinical and Professional Skills (CAPS) is one of three longitudinal strands used to deliver the integrated undergraduate medical education curriculum at Carver College of Medicine. The goal of CAPS is to provide students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for professional development and clinical excellence including the sense of inquiry and lifelong habits of skill acquisition, self-assessment and reflective practice. CAPS incorporates the developmental process of learning by offering sequentially more challenging experiences across the curriculum, repeated practice opportunities, observation and feedback, and self-directed learning and reflection. Students will learn the art and science of medicine through an integrated approach with other strands and in a way that is similar to how they will practice medicine in the future.

CAPS I

While enrolled in CAPS I, students will be introduced to concepts of clinical reasoning, communication, physical examination and evidence-based clinical practice as well as the principles of biomedical ethics. The Early Clinical Experiences (ECE) Program allows early clinical interactions and helps place classroom experiences into the context of patient care. Students will also interact with students from other health sciences colleges as a way to begin to explore the inter-professional approach to caring for patients.

CAPS II

While enrolled in CAPS II, concepts of clinical reasoning learned from the previous course will be reinforced and additional elements of clinical reasoning will be introduced and practiced during interactions with standardized patients as well as during ECE clinical visits. The variety of experiences will also help students gain a deeper appreciation for issues pertaining to biomedical ethics. As part of inter-professional education students will focus on the strengths as well as barriers to providing comprehensive interdisciplinary patient care.

CAPS III

While enrolled in CAPS III, students will learn more advanced clinical reasoning skills through focused patient encounters and interactions with special patient populations. An emphasis will be placed on the students’ ability to integrate and use concepts from the other curricular strands required for cost-conscious, patient-centered, interdisciplinary care.

Medicine and Society (MAS)

Medicine and Society (MAS) consists of three consecutive, integrated courses in which students learn about disease prevention, health promotion services, public health, epidemiology, health services organizations and delivery, and community dimensions of medical practice.

MAS I

During MAS I, students will be introduced to social determinants of health, investigate the influence and impact of culture and the community of health care, learn about community resources, and apply health and risk assessment to individual patients and themselves.

MAS II

During MAS II, students will focus on public health and epidemiology, with particular attention to screening, global health, and environmental hazards.

MAS III

During MAS III, students will learn about health services organization and delivery, with a particular emphasis on community dimensions of medical practice and patient safety.

Medical Gross Anatomy

In Medical Gross Anatomy students learn to identify the various components comprising the human body and how their structures and locations relate to their functions. This includes complete dissection of the human body. The course provides students with much of the new language they will need to communicate accurately and specifically with patients and other clinicians.

Summer Courses

After the first two semesters, there will be an interim component of the curriculum which consists of course work specific to PA training such as PA licensure, professional practice laws and regulations, credentialing, professional issues, history and trends.  Students will also complete courses in clinical lab medicine, EKG interpretation, clinical applications of radiology, and continue to add to their physical exam and technical procedural skills.