Preclerkship courses

This is a general overview of the preclerkship courses for second year students.  For detailed descriptions of the courses, refer to archived versions of the student handbook. To see course contacts, view Preclerkship Course Directors.

SEcond Year

Art and Science of Clinical Medicine 2 (ASCM 2)

This course continues clinical skills instruction in the second year via 35 half-day sessions, which are scheduled on Thursday mornings. The course builds on previously learned skills in history and physical examination in ASCM 1 and focuses on learning more advanced skills in history-taking and physical examination. The components of the written case report are reviewed and strengthened. Students improve skills in performing an oral case presentation. The skill of performing a focused history and physical examination is introduced early in the course and you build on this skill as the course progresses. Students learn to integrate knowledge of states of health and illness into their history-taking in order to perform a focused history and physical examination and to formulate a differential diagnosis.

The course is divided into several sessions led by one or two core tutors and blocks of sessions devoted to specialized learning in:

  • geriatrics
  • paediatrics
  • psychiatry
  • other specialty areas

Specific skills are taught in the following dedicated sessions: the musculoskeletal system, orthopaedics, the back examination, the breast examination, the male genital-urinary system, the peripheral vascular system, the neurological system, the acute abdomen, and the ophthalmological and otolargyngological examinations.

Community, Populations and Public Health 2 (CPPH 2)

CPPH 2 fosters the development of future physicians’ responses to changing community and societal needs and concerns. As a result of completing the course work in CPPH, you will have the foundation of necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes to form appropriate alliances with patients, other health care professionals and community organizations to the benefit of the individual patient and community as a whole. Your practice will be population-health oriented and evidence-based. You will be aware of factors and resources needed to promote health and wellness and be able to integrate this knowledge effectively into clinical practice.

There are eight scheduled CPPH 2 sessions on Wednesday afternoons during the academic year. All CPPH 2 sessions are dedicated to the Community-Based and Service-Learning (CBSL) field experience that students commenced in CPPH 1. CBSL is a longitudinal field experience that starts in the spring of CPPH 1 and concludes at the end of CPPH 2. Students are partnered with a community organization where you engage in meaningful work, while answering questions connected to topics in community and population health. You will share your CBS experience at an Academy-based forum.

See information for community organizations.

Family Medicine Longitudinal Experience (FMLE)

During FMLE, students participate in community-based family medicine clinics on six Monday and/or Wednesday afternoons spread out through the second year of the program. Students are assigned preceptors through a match process, after which the six clinic dates are arranged and agreed on jointly by you and your preceptor from a list of possible dates supplied by the University.

The goal of FMLE is for students to develop an appreciation of the importance of generalist specialties and of family medicine in particular, including an understanding of the role family physicians play within the health care system. In addition, you will have some exposure to important issues in our health care environment such as physician distribution, physician remuneration, primary care reform and social accountability.

During FMLE, you also practice some of the history-taking and physical examination skills learned in ASCM 1 and ASCM 2. You also learn about the family medicine-based clinical S.O.A.P. ('Subjective, Objective, Assessment, Plan') note and practice documentation using an Electronic Medical Record (EMR)-type document.


Health Science Research (HSR)

The HSR course is an introduction to the principles of research, directed at helping you understand and use research to contribute to improving the health of people and populations, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, in Canada and globally.

It is expected that most students will be involved in research or quality improvement activities to some degree at various times in their career. Some students will be involved in research through a project during medical school or residency. Others may be involved in research because their patients will be recruited as participants in a clinical trial. Many may collaborate on projects with others who are the principal investigator, while some students will have research as their principal career activity. All will be involved as consumers of research.

Through HSR, you will learn the epistemological underpinnings of the scientific method as well as the skills required to conduct, evaluate and apply health-related research, thus broadening your experience and understanding of the translational research pathway.

Two major foci of the course are to:

  • develop the student’s understanding of qualitative and quantitative methodologies and techniques
  • help the student to appreciate translational research

Mechanisms, Manifestations and Management of Disease (MMMD)

MMMD is a 36-week course which runs throughout the second year of medical school. The first nine weeks of the course concentrate on the mechanisms of disease: the pathogenesis and the changes in disease that occur at the tissue, cellular and molecular levels and how these correlate clinically. The mechanisms section covers the major categories of human disease and is divided into four major topics:

  • genetics and genetic diseases
  • immunology and disorders of the immune system
  • microbiology
  • pathology

A three-week case-based learning (CBL) unit will take place during the first three weeks of MMMD this coming year and will cover the topics of Cell Damage, Inflammation, and Neoplasia. 

The remaining 27 weeks of the course consist of system-based medicine with each week structured around one or more themes. Instruction consists of lectures, weekly problem-based tutorials, and small-group workshops. Problem-based tutorials and workshops build on information covered in lectures, but also allow you to develop skills in clinical decision making, communication, collaboration, health advocacy and resource management. Small-group workshops help reinforce concepts and teach basic skills such as intubation.