School of Medicine

Foundational Sciences Course Descriptions


* Course credits pertain to 2019-2020 academic year.

Age-Related Topics (ARTS): MBART-MAIN

The goals of this course are to provide an introduction to both pediatric and geriatric clinical medicine by highlighting the similarities and differences in basic principles of pathophysiology as they pertain to patients at either end of the age spectrum.

Credits: 1.00
Course Co-Directors: Shweta Parmekar, M.D. and Anita Major, M.D.


The goal of this course is to provide an effective transition for a fourth-year graduating student to a professional physician in training. The course provides both generalized and specialized content, personalizing the educational experience to meet students’ chosen fields. It offers a unique, practical and interactive focus on solidifying students' medical school experiences while developing and fine-tuning skills that will help them enter their internship with confidence.

Credits: 2.0
Course Director: Uma Ayyala, M.D.

Behavioral Science: MBBES-MAIN

The goals of this course are to increase the learner's understanding of 1) the biological, psychological, social and cultural processes that influence normative development across the lifespan; 2) mental illnesses including diagnosis, presentation, and treatment modalities including psychopharmacology and psychotherapy. Along with the increased knowledge in course content, secondary goals are to provide avenues for enhanced awareness about the implications of personal bias and application of these principles in clinical encounters. This course is designed to create a foundation of knowledge that will be used in the Psychiatry clerkship.

Credits: 3.25
Course Director: Sindhu Idicula, M.D.

CABS-Business and Leadership in Medicine: MCBLM-MAIN

The goals for the course are for the learner to understand the importance of business and leadership knowledge and skills in medical practice; be able to explain the ethical implications of attention to business issues in patient care; develop and demonstrate competence in analyzing the impact of a patient's insurance on their care; be able to describe the key elements of successful practice management; be able to discuss the legal and regulatory environment of office and hospital practice; and be able to explain how governmental policies concerning health and healthcare delivery are developed and implemented.

Credits: 0.75
Course Co-Directors: Stephen Whitney, M.D., M.B.A. and Theresa Tran, M.D., M.B.A.

CABS-Dermatology: MCDRM-MAIN

The goals of this course are to provide the fundamentals for understanding the pathophysiology of common dermatologic diseases; provide an understanding and knowledge of the pertinent history, clinical exam findings, and diagnostic clinical testing/strategies utilized for dermatologic diseases; and to reinforce the application of and integration of clinical findings to diagnostic differentials and treatment for dermatologic diseases to prepare the learner to transition from the classroom to the clinical setting.

Credits: 0.75

Course Co-Directors: Soo Jung Kim, M.D., Ph.D. and Ikue Shimizu, M.D., B.A.

CABS-Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM): MCEBM-MAIN

The goals of this course are to develop skills in applying the medical literature to patient care; set a pattern for life-long learning; promote evidence-based decision-making on rotations and in clinical practice; and to practice team problem-solving in a 'safe' environment. Students will be introduced to the basic biostatistics and epidemiology used in the medical literature and practice applying them to patient care.

Credits: 0.75
Course Director: Cara Foldes, M.D., M.P.H.


The goals of this course are to integrate basic concepts of nutrition relevant to pathophysiology encountered in common clinical settings in which nutrition plays an especially important role, including that encountered in patients with gastrointestinal, hepatic, endocrine, renal and cardiac disease; and to understand the potential role of nutritional guidance or intervention in reducing the incidence or severity of common medical disorders.

Credits: 0.75
Course Director: Craig Jensen, M.D.

Cardiology: MBCAR-MAIN

The goals of this course are to provide introduction to clinical cardiology including the heart as a pump, electrocardiography and treatment of cardiac rhythm disorders, heart sounds, heart failure, acute coronary syndromes, sudden cardiac death, cardiomyopathies, pericarditis, valvular heart disease and congenital heart disease. The pathophysiology, prevention and management of atherosclerosis, ischemic heart disease, valvular disease, cardiac arrhythmias as well as prevention and treatment of hypertension and other cardiovascular risk factors as well as treatment of various prevalent heart diseases such as heart failure and coronary artery disease will be considered.

Credits: 2.25
Course Director: Gabriel Habib, M.D.

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: MBCTP-MAIN

The goal of the course is to ensure pre-clinical students develop a positive system for critical thinking and medical problem solving using integrated, patient-based case vignettes. Students will work through cases using a team-based approach. Students will build a problem-solving framework that focuses on asking appropriate questions, acquiring accurate information, analyzing the evidence and articulating a rational argument. Students will examine how they think and deal with ambiguity in decision making so they will be able to effectively deal with complex problems. Additionally, in order to develop life-long learning skills needed to be an exemplary student/doctor, students will identify and apply self-regulated learning strategies to include metacognitive awareness and self-reflection throughout the course.

Credits: 3.0
Course Director: Sarah Bezek, M.D.

Determinants, Disparities, and Social/Population Health (DDASH): MCDSH-MAIN

The over-arching goals of DDASH is to prepare learners to care for patients in vulnerable populations and promote health equity. The course allows students to discuss major social and structural determinants like social class, race, gender, poverty, individual networks/support, community cohesion, educational attainment, occupation and built environments, along with influencers like health policy. Health outcomes will be interpreted through the lens of upstream factors to inform students about the intersection of public health and medicine. Students will discuss societal issues that precede chronic disease, homelessness, incarceration, refugee and asylum status, addiction, etc. and they will be exposed to foundational principles of providing culturally humble, psychosocial resource rich, equitable, relationship centered care suitable for a diverse and complex social environment. Finally, in examining these concepts, students will develop core professional attributes (e.g. integrity, respect, compassion, justice, empathy) necessary for assuming the role of a health advocate.

Credits: 2.75

Course Director: Malvika Juneja, M.D.

Endocrinology: MBEND-MAIN

The goals of this course are to provide the fundamentals for understanding the pathophysiology of common endocrine disorders; provide an understanding and knowledge of the pertinent history, clinical exam findings, and diagnostic clinical testing/strategies utilized for common endocrine disorders; provide an understanding and knowledge of the principles of endocrinology and treatment strategies; and to reinforce the application of and integration of clinical findings to diagnostic differentials and treatment for endocrine disorders to prepare the learner to transition from the classroom to the clinical setting.

Credits: 1.75
Course Director: Nalini Ram, M.B.B.S.


The goals of this course are to provide opportunities for students to master core knowledge of ethics in clinical practice and to master reasoning skills of ethics in clinical practice

Credits: 1.50
Course Director: Christi Guerrini, J.D., M.P.H.

Foundations Basic to the Science of Medicine (FBSM): MBFBS-MAIN

The goals of this course are to increase students' knowledge of basic biomedical sciences and ability to integrate and apply these foundational sciences to the practice of medicine. Students will learn to integrate basic science concepts across traditional scientific disciplines (biochemistry, bioenergetics, biostatistics, cell biology, cell structure & function, embryology, genetics, gross anatomy, histology, metabolism, nutrition, pharmacology, physiology), and apply basic science to clinical pathophysiology, diagnostics, and therapeutics. Students will also develop attitudes and behaviors appropriate to the medical profession, and will recognize how to foster the lifelong learning required for maintaining scientific and clinical competence throughout their careers.

Credits: 19.00
Course Director: Sandra B. Haudek, Ph.D.

Gastroenterology (GI): MBGST-MAIN

The goal of this course is to increase knowledge of the gastrointestinal system and common disease processes that can affect its function. These include disorders of the luminal gastrointestinal tract – esophagus, stomach, small intestine and colon – as well as the liver, pancreas and gall bladder.

Credits: 2.0
Course Director: Milena Gould Suarez, M.D.

General Pharmacology: MBPHR-MAIN

The goal of this course is to increase students' general knowledge of pharmacology and particularly pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, adrenergic drugs, and cholinergic drugs. Antimicrobial drugs are introduced as a prelude to the Infectious Diseases course. Students will be able to describe drug uptake, distribution, action and elimination; have integrated their knowledge of the autonomic nervous system with the drugs and receptors that function in the adrenergic and cholinergic components of the autonomic nervous system; list the stages of the drug discovery and approval process; and properly write a drug prescription, taking into account knowledge of young, adult and senior patient populations.

Credit: 1.75
Course Director: Ram Reddy, Ph.D.

Genetics: MBGNT-MAIN

The over-arching goal of this course is to introduce the students to the discipline and practice of medical genetics for the prenatal, pediatric, and adult patient by identifying genetic disorders related to connective tissue, dysmorphology, neurology, cardiovascular problems, skeletal dysplasias, hearing problems and cancer ; by interpreting molecular and cytogenetic tests used to diagnose genetic conditions and by understanding the ethical implications of genetic disorders and their impact on patients and their families. This course is designed to create a foundation of knowledge for the genetic basis of diseases as it pertains to all specialties of medicine and to empower the student to be able to use genetic knowledge in the specialty of their choice.

Credits: 1.25
Course Director: Shweta Dhar, M.D.

Genitourinary/Gynecology (GU/GYN): MBGUG-MAIN

The goal of this course is to introduce the student to the discipline of Obstetrics/Gynecology and Urology. Topics covered include pregnancy, breast cancer, birth control, infertility in addition to the pathology of the male and female reproductive systems and urinary system.

Credits: 1.25
Course Co-Directors: Jennifer Bercaw-Pratt, M.D. and Jennifer Taylor, M.D., M.P.H.

Head and Neck Anatomy: MBHNA-MAIN

The goals of this course are careful dissection and understanding of the head and neck with emphasis on the skull and cranial cavity, orbit, ear, facial nerve and parotid gland, muscles of the face and scalp, function of the suprahyoid and infratemporal regions, pharynx, nasal cavity and sinuses, and larynx. Furthermore, there is an introduction to radiology and embryology of the face and neck. The cranial nerves are carefully defined in terms of innervations, motor and sensory functions, and autonomic pathways. Microanatomy of the eye and ear, including the retina and the organ of Corti, are presented to future physicians. General Sensory processing and basic ophthalmologic and ENT surgical procedures of interest are also included. This course functions as a prerequisite to the subsequent Nervous System course.

Credits: 3.00
Course Director: Ming Zhang, Ph.D.

Hematology/Oncology: MBHMO-MAIN

The goals of this course are to increase knowledge of the pathophysiology of hematopoiesis and hemostasis and to integrate and apply knowledge of the regulation and function of blood cells and coagulation, acquire the principles of transfusion medicine, increase knowledge of the principles of cancer medicine and treatment strategies, and know the actions and complications of the major categories of cancer therapeutic agents, targeted therapies and cellular based therapy. As many specific cancers are taught in their appropriate systems courses, this course can be summarized as the details of hematology and the principles of oncology.

Credits: 2.5
Course Co-Directors: Mark Udden, M.D. and Andrea N. Marcogliese, M.D.

Immunologic/Pathologic Basis of Disease: MBIPD-MAIN

The goals of this course are to prepare the students to approach the study of diseases and apply those principles to clinical diagnosis. This approach will be through both Immunology and the principles of General (systemic) Pathology. The normal and deranged immune system will be covered in relationship to the pathology of inflammation, autoimmunity, tumors and autoimmune disorders. The fundamental cellular and tissue responses to injury, hemodynamic disorders, and neoplasia are covered.

Credits: 4.00
Course Director: Christine Roth, M.D.

Infectious Diseases: MBIND-MAIN

The goals of this course are to provide an introduction to the basic principles and clinical aspects of infectious diseases including bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites; introduce pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of different infectious diseases as well as aspects of prevention; and to further expand the concepts of differential diagnosis in infectious diseases.

Credits: 6.25
Course Director: Shital Patel, M.D.

Intersession: Service Learning, Wellness and Narrative Medicine

The goals for this course are to provide the fundamentals for understanding the importance of and need for personal wellness as a student and physician, to integrate and apply the learned wellness skills into the students life; to make personal gains in professionalism, empathy, and interpersonal skills through active Service Learning, and to gain personal insight and coping through active reflection with Narrative Medicine. Service Learning will be done at selected sites throughout Houston, where students will be immersed in both the daily activities and programmatic planning of community service organizations. Students will develop skills to identify community needs relevant to an organization and work directly with employees to deliver the services offered. Students will be introduced to Wellness topics both didactically and through active learning gaining experience and knowledge in multiple wellness dimensions (Physical, Spiritual, Financial, Environmental, Emotional, Intellectual, and Social). The Narrative Medicine course will help tie together the various experiences in Service Learning and Wellness, allowing the student to learn reflection as a means to wellness and insight. Students will complete the course with a mini-poster/spoken and written word program.

Credits: 0.5

Course Director: E. Lee Poythress, M.D.

Nervous System: MBNRS-MAIN

The goal of this course is to provide an intense and thorough encounter with the nervous system so that students are prepared for their clinical clerkships, and for further scientific and clinical mastery of this discipline. Clinically relevant neuroanatomy and neurophysiology are covered in such a way that students will master clinical localization and pathophysiology. Specific disease states are introduced with consideration of pathophysiology, diagnostics and therapeutics to foster understanding of clinical neuroscience and to prepare students for the Neurology clerkship. The major focus is clinical localization and differential diagnosis of neurological disorders so that diagnostic and therapeutic plans can be formulated.

Credits: 6.00
Course Director J. Clay Goodman, M.D.

Patient Safety: MBPSA-MAIN

The goal of this course is to prepare learners with the foundational knowledge necessary to understand the context, key principles and competencies associated with the discipline of patient safety in the delivery of healthcare services. Additionally, students will learn to recognize weaknesses in our medical system that can lead to patient safety events and will be empowered to promote a culture of safety in the clinical environment.

Credits: 0.50
Course Director: Cara Lye, M.D.

Patient, Physician and Society (PPS) 1-2: MBPP1-MAIN, MBPP2-MAIN

The goals of this course are to provide students with basic interviewing, physical examination and medical communication skills; allow students to correlate anatomy and physiology with normal physical exam findings in ambulatory patients; reinforce the fundamental values of medical professionalism; and to help students view the broader context of health care using the relationship-centered care and integrated interviewing models.

Credits: MBPP1 (3.00) MBPP2 (3.25)
Course Director: Alicia Kowalchuk, D.O.

Patient, Physician and Society (PPS) 3: MBPP3-MAIN

This course teaches students the foundational clinical skills necessary for entering clerkships. The goals of this course are to continue to develop patient-centered interviewing skills to obtain a complete history; correlate pathophysiology learned in the morning classes with abnormal physical findings on hospitalized patients; and to inculcate altruistic and compassionate patient care.

Credits: 2.75
Course Director: Anita Kusnoor, M.D.


The goals of this course are to provide an introduction to clinical nephrology: specifically the pathophysiology, diagnosis, treatment, and management of abnormalities in electrolytes and acid base, glomerulonephritis, kidney histology, acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease, in adults and children. The learner will learn how dialysis and transplantation has shaped public policy. Utilizing common clinical scenarios and case-based group activity facilitate the transition from classroom to bedside.

Credits: 1.75
Course Director: Rajeev Raghavan, M.D.

Respiratory: MBRSP-MAIN

The goal of this course is to provide the fundamentals for understanding the pathophysiology of common respiratory diseases. By the end of the course, students will be able to: correlate history, clinical exam findings, and diagnostic clinical testing/strategies in order to form a differential diagnosis for common respiratory diseases; evaluate pathological images to diagnose respiratory disorders; and summarize pharmacological and non-pharmacological management options for common respiratory disorders.

Credits: 1.75
Course Director: Dharani Narendra, M.B.B.S.

Transition to Clinical Rotations: MBITC-MAIN

The goal of this course is to facilitate the transition of second-year Baylor medical students from the basic sciences to the clinical years. The goal is to provide basic skills and information to allow students to readily participate in patient care. At the end of the course, second-year students will be able to describe effective studying strategies for clinical rotations; demonstrate how to glove and gown using sterile technique; maintain sterile environment in the OR; navigate the EMR to find pertinent information; manage commonly described interpersonal and intrateam stressors on the wards; understand what is expected on a typical day on the wards for a given clerkship and how to succeed as a ward clerk; compose a SOAP note; and to discriminate between appropriate and inappropriate types of public disclosure concerning clinical experiences.

Credits: 0.75
Course Co-Directors: Meghan McClure, M.D. and Katie Scally, M.D.

Transitional Research and Population Health: MBTRP-MAIN

The goal of this course is to apply knowledge in population health, translational research and implementation science through active learning. The course will develop medical student’s ability to understand how health data and research informs the delivery of care.

Credits: 3.25
Course Director: Jessica Davila, Ph.D.


Compact Between Teachers, Learners, Educational Staff


This compact serves both as a pledge and a reminder to teachers, learners and educational staff that moral, ethical and professional behavior by all Baylor personnel is essential to the basic principles of Baylor College of Medicine. Read the compact.