Medical Student Education

The Medical Student Curriculum in the Department of Psychiatry consists of three major learning experiences. The first two, the Neurology, Psychiatry and Biostatistics clock (NPB) and the Medical Interviewing Preceptorship (MIP) Program are offered during the second year. The third, the Psychiatry and Neurology Clerkship, is offered during the third year. All these experiences are developed and presented in close collaboration with the Department of Neuroscience.

Neurology, Psychiatry, and Biostatistics Block (Part of the Organ System Series):
The course synthesizes the basic science and clinical aspects of neurosciences and behavioral sciences to provide a better understanding of disorders of the nervous and behavioral systems. The teaching modalities emphasize active student participation. The full range of departmental faculty is represented, and the course has received excellent student evaluations. Most case vignettes and references used in the course originate at University Hospital.

Medical Interviewing Preceptorship (MIP):
The MIP program is made up of over 40 groups at over 20 clinical sites across northern and central New Jersey, including UH. This four-week experience is a very logistically complex course led by a large team of 50 preceptors. They include our in-house faculty and a large cadre of voluntary faculty. Students interview actual patients from general medical and psychiatric services.

Course Objectives

•  To gain an understanding of the structural and functional organization of the nervous system

•  To acquire knowledge of the gross brain morphology and neuroanatomy of the central nervous system, including the development of the central nervous system, blood supply, ventricular system and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and their clinical correlations.

•  To develop an understanding of the anatomy and functions of sensory and motor systems, including analysis of their pathways and control mechanisms in relation to the principles of neural function, the neurological examination, and localization of neurological lesions.

•  To know the functional properties of the nervous system in relation to normal and abnormal processes, including memory, sleep, emotions, endocrine functioning, feeding and drinking and their relationships with behavioral functions and disorders.

•  To have exposure to brain imaging (i.e. CT, MRI, PET, angiography) for clinical purposes.

•  To become acquainted with the basic principles of the neurological examination.

•  To become familiar with the epidemiology, etiology, clinical manifestations, diagnostic procedures and treatment of common neurological disorders, including upper and lower motor nerve disorders, disorders of the cerebellum, paraplegias, neuropathies, neoplasms, stroke, dementia, aphasia, pain syndromes, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and sleep disorders.

•  To gain an understanding of the stages of the life cycle, including infancy, toddler and preschool age, school-age, adolescence and adulthood.

•  To become familiar with the basic principles of psychiatric assessment.

•  To learn about the epidemiology, etiology, clinical manifestations, diagnostic procedures and treatment of common psychopathological syndromes, including schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, somatoform disorders, personality disorders, disorders related to substance use, pain disorders, sleep disorders, factitious disorders, eating disorders, dementia, delirium, and childhood disorders.

•  To become acquainted with neuropsychological testing.

•  To receive an introduction to the foundations and basic principles of psychotherapy.

•  To learn basic principles concerning the pharmacology of clinically important drugs, including anti-epileptics, antidepressants, antipsychotics, anxiolytics, and drugs of abuse.

•  To gain an appreciation of neurobehavioral functions and dysfunctions.

Psychiatry and Neurology Clerkship

Third year medical students participate in a four-week Psychiatry (4 weeks) The Psychiatry rotation is offered at University Hospital (UH)-Newark and Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBI). The purpose of the psychiatry clerkship is to train students to be able to recognize, examine, diagnose, and treat (at least emergently) major psychiatric conditions. During the four-week clerkship, students should be intrigued and amazed by the beauty and power of human beings and the complex interactions of mind, brain, and behavior.

In the Psychiatry rotation, emphasis is placed on performing a thorough psychiatric interview, learning how to conduct a Mental Status Examination (MSE), making a differential diagnosis, and developing a treatment plan for each patient. Students are also trained in hospital protocol and procedures and proper documentation requirements. Our goals and objectives also emphasize learning about patients' cultural, ethnic and health beliefs, along with understanding how patients' psycho-social and financial circumstances impact their health and health behaviors Student clerks rotate on inpatient psychiatric units, consultation-liaison, ambulatory and emergency services for adults and children. Psychiatry conducts National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) Examinations.  Exams are at the end of each 4-week block.  In the final (eighth) week, there is also a combined Objective Standardized Clinical Exam (OSCE) that utilizes standardized patients in scripted cases with two Psychiatry stations and two Neurology stations. Students are evaluated on a combined grade on Clinical Performance (LCME medical student competencies), NBME exam score and OSCE score.

Learning is "hands on" with observation of, and participation in, patient care. Additionally, students receive a wide variety of didactic instruction in the form of lectures, seminars, grand rounds, journal club, case-conferences with senior clinicians, and reading assignments. We utilize an electronic, web-based, learning platform that allows for remote access to an on-line curriculum. Department Faculty and Residents supervise and work with medical students to guide them through this rich and valuable clinical learning experience.



 Please email questions and comments to: Rajashri Patel
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