Year 1 — The Basic Sciences
The first and second years of the curriculum focus on the fundamentals of medicine and dentistry. Taught by faculty from both the School of Dental Medicine and the Medical School, basic science courses are paired with parallel dental courses to establish and affirm the nexus of oral to general health, the basic philosophy of the School. All courses are Pass/Fail.
Organized as a continuum, the sequence of interdisciplinary courses begins at the cellular level and progresses to a thorough understanding of the Human body, genetics, physiology, microbiology, and immunology. During a one-month semester in January, time is given to the study of epidemiology and population health and a fundamentals-of-research course called Scholarly Inquiry in Medicine. This course serves as a foundation for the research experience required of dental students at HSDM.
Equally important to the development of scientific knowledge in the first and second years is instruction in critical aspects of social and behavioral science. The first year begins with a two-week course called Introduction to the Profession, designed to introduce students to the demands of professional education, clinical practice, and the development of their professional careers. Time is given to the discussion of the students’ goals and expectations, as well as the School’s expectation of the students in their personal and professional growth.
HSDM takes seriously the transition students make from student learners to professionals in training. The importance of the patient-doctor relationship, professional development, and clinical skills is advanced with an in-depth three-year longitudinal course called Patient-Doctor. In mentored settings, the first- and second-year courses permit students to interview patients and learn the physical examination. Students come to understand the social, behavioral, and emotional expectations that patients bring to the health-care encounter and, most important, the students’ role and responsibility to patients in the health-care setting.