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Physician Assistant Program

Houston, Texas

Anatomy instruction at Baylor College of Medicine
Physician Assistant Program
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Didactic Curriculum

The 13-month didactic phase of the curriculum focuses on human structure and function, physiologic systems governing body function, pathological and behavioral alterations causing clinical manifestations of illness, and therapeutic principles underlying the management of illness and injury.

Both discipline-specific and interdisciplinary learning experiences with medical and nurse anesthesia students delivered in traditional and team-based fashion are used to define the shared knowledge base requisite to entry-level practice.

Fall Semester Spring Semester
Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
-- Clinical Genetics -- -- -- --
Clinical Biochemistry Clinical Biochemistry -- -- -- --
Anatomical Sciences Anatomical Sciences Anatomical Sciences Anatomical Sciences Medical Ethics --
-- Human Physiology Human Physiology Human Physiology Behavioral Dynamics Behavioral Dynamics
-- Pharmacology Pharmacology Pharmacology Women's Health Pediatrics
Clinical Medicine Clinical Medicine Clinical Medicine Clinical Medicine Clinical Medicine Clinical Medicine
Physical Diagnosis Physical Diagnosis Physical Diagnosis Physical Diagnosis Physical Diagnosis Physical Diagnosis
-- Clinical Immunology Problem Solving in Medicine Problem Solving in Medicine Problem Solving in Medicine Problem Solving in Medicine
Clinical Prevention Clinical Prevention Clinical Prevention Diagnostic Testing Diagnostic Testing Electro-cardiography
Behavioral Counseling Behavioral Counseling Behavioral Counseling -- Research Methods --
Cultural Competency Cultural Competency Cultural Competency Professional Roles Professional Roles Professional Roles

Once students have mastered a specified body of knowledge and core skills, they enter a period of critical thinking and reasoning designed to integrate the basic and pre-clinical sciences of medicine. Concepts in epidemiology, principles of pathology and pathophysiology, the clinical manifestations of illness and injury, and the ability of testing to assist in the diagnostic and management processes are integrated within the Problem Solving in Medicine course. Courses in Electrocardiography and Diagnostic Testing are used to reinforce student understanding of diagnostic test selection and interpretation. Together, these courses provide the foundation of information needed to select mediations for the management of disease.

Learning about the role of the PA and the importance of cultural beliefs and alternative care practices to the outcomes of care are addressed in the courses Professional Roles Issues and Cultural Competency. Critical thinking, reasoning, and problem solving, are intrinsic to the curriculum and essential to practice. Students are also prepared for the development and writing of the Master's Paper, required for graduation, in a course on Health Research Methods. Faculty within the PA Program and the College basic science and clinical faculty all participate to present these didactic experiences.

Didactic Course Descriptions

The below course descriptions reflect the current didactic curriculum. Please note that the didactic curriculum is continuously being reviewed to ensure the quality and applicability of the learning experiences. Curriculum changes can and do occur as a part of this continuous quality improvement process.

64101 AHANA Anatomical Sciences I

This course is designed to give PA students an extensive background in the fundamentals of human anatomy using lecture, laboratory and independent study formats. Anatomic structures presented and discussed in lecture are identified and reviewed by students in the human cadaver lab using prosected specimens.
Course Director: Frances Kretzer, Ph.D. and faculty
Offered: August of each academic year
Credits: 11

62102 AHANA Anatomical Sciences II

This course provides an in-depth exposure to anatomy of the head and neck using lecture, cadaveric dissection, prosected specimens, laboratory demonstration, radiographic evaluation, and independent study formats.
Course Director: Frances Kretzer, Ph.D. and faculty
Offered: January through February of each academic year.
Credits: 2

64431 PABDN Behavioral Dynamics

This lecture and discussion course designed to provide the student with an overall view of the normal and abnormal characteristics of human psychological development and behavior. The etiology and consequences of common congenital and environmental influences are studied in relation to the pediatric, adult, and geriatric patient.
Course Director: DeVance Hamilton, M.D., and faculty
Offered: April through July of each academic year
Credits: 4

65501 PACMD Clinical Medicine I

The course begins with an overview of basic concepts in pathology and microbiology germane to the study of disease effecting the major organ body systems after which students are involved in an in-depth study of the underlying pathophysiology, clinical manifestations and prognosis associated with disease involving the cardiovascular, pulmonary, renal, and gastrointestinal systems using lectures, case discussions and critical thinking sessions to help students focus their learning.
Course Director: Katherine Erdman, MPAS, PA-C and clinical faculty
Offered: July through December of each academic year
Credits: 5

66311 PACMD Clinical Medicine II

This course continues the in-depth study of the pathophysiology, clinical manifestations and prognosis associated with disease states effecting the skin, musculoskeletal, rheumatologic, special sensory organ, neurological, endocrine, and hematopoietic systems along with oncologic and infectious illness in adults and older persons using lectures, case discussions and critical thinking sessions to help students focus their learning.
Course Director: Katherine Erdman, MPAS, PA-C and clinical faculty
Offered: January through July of each academic year
Credits: 6

63121 AHBIO Clinical Biochemistry

A lecture and discussion course aimed at teaching allied health graduate students the basics of clinical biochemistry in order to prepare them for their further studies. The course will review basic organic chemistry pertinent to understanding metabolic pathways. The course will emphasize different aspects of clinical biochemistry including structure and function of proteins, enzyme kinetics, metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids and amino acids. Special attention will be given to nutritional needs.
Course Director: Kristina Hulten, Ph.D., and faculty
Course Offered: July through September of each academic year
Credits: 3

61141 AHGEN Clinical Genetics

This course teaches allied health graduate students the basics of clinical genetics in order to prepare them for their further studies and practice in primary care. The course will review basic genetic information (the structure of DNA, RNA and protein synthesis) and clinical genetics (human development, gene analysis, disease producing mutations).
Course Director: Brett Graham, MD, Ph.D.
Course Offered: October through December of each academic year
Credit: 1

62131 AHIMM Clinical Immunology

The course presents the components of the immune system, functional roles of B cells, T cells, antibodies and cytokines, antigen recognition and antibody response, primary and secondary immunodeficiency disease, and explores tolerance, and the immune response to bacteria and viruses. Case-based critical thinking sessions are used to integrate and apply knowledge and concepts learned from lectures and readings.
Course Director: Donovan Earley, MS, CRNA and faculty
Course Offered: August through September of each academic year
Credits: 2

63301 PACLP Clinical Prevention

This course introduces students to the history, underlying theory, and basic concepts associated with clinical prevention in the United States, espoused by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). Recommended guidelines and strategies for early disease screening, risk identification, and risk stratification are addressed using a population-specific frame of reference designed to compliment parallel learning experiences in Clinical Medicine, Physical Diagnosis, Genetics, and Health Behavioral Counseling. Concepts will be cumulatively implemented throughout the Physical Diagnosis course through patient write-ups and through this course utilizing case integrations.
Course Director: Carl Fasser, PA and faculty
Course Offered: July through December of each academic year
Credits: 3

62401 PACC Cultural Competency I

The course introduces students to issues surrounding cultural awareness and sensitivity pertaining to the diversity and uniqueness of populations to be encountered as health care practitioners using lectures, panel discussions, small group activities, and participation in community events. Over the course of a year, the course will explore personal bias, communication styles, belief systems, alternative health care practices, family roles, and the relationship of these issues to perceptions of culture and socioeconomic status.
Course Director: Carl Fasser, PA and faculty
Course Offered: June through December each academic year
Credits: 2

62701 PADIA Diagnostic Testing

A course designed to acquaint students with the principles involved in and the clinical evaluation of radiographic and clinical laboratory diagnostic studies. The emphasis within the radiology section is placed on normal radiographic findings and their comparison to the abnormalities visualized in disease processes. In the laboratory medicine section, the lectures are designed to survey and relate the results of tests to clinical situations. Lectures will also introduce the techniques of more important laboratory tests to include specimen acquisition and handling.
Course Directors: Eugenio Banez, M.D., Alfred Watson, M.D., and faculty
Course Offered: March through May of each academic year
Credit: 2

62711 PAECG Electrocardiography

This course designed to present a systematic approach to ECG interpretation in preparation for didactic training in cardiology. The objective of the course is to teach the student to evaluate ECG tracings using the specific steps and each lecture covers a specific topic or topics and builds on the previous ones. After completing each lecture, the student will be given ECG tracings to review and apply the knowledge acquired in laboratory conferences.
Course Director: Antone Opekun, PA-C and faculty
Course Offered: June and July of each academic year
Credits: 2

62201 PAHBC Health Behavioral Counseling

This course introduces counseling and behavioral science theories, skills, and tools to students to enhance their communication skills and their understanding of the process of changing health behaviors. As part of the course, students will identify a personal health behavior change, engage in critical reflection, and participate in role-playing exercises. These experiences will help the student develop an intimate understanding of the process of change and thereby increase empathy for patients attempting to change their own health behaviors.
Course Director: Robert McLaughlin, Ph.D., and faculty
Course Offered: June through December each academic year
Credits: 2

62441 AHHRM Health Research Methods

This course introduces the student to research methods used in clinical and community-based research. The course is organized around a series of lectures, exercises, and literature reviews designed to show how research proposals are developed and how to interpret research performed by others. Topics include problem definition, hypothesis formulation, study design, sample selection, scientific measurement, statistical options, interpretation of results, and ethical considerations. Interpretation of the medical literature is emphasized.
Course Director: Dave Johnson, Ph.D., and faculty
Course Offered: April and May of each academic year
Credits: 2

61901 PAPSM Problem Solving in Medicine I

This course assist students develop their skills at differential diagnosis and problem identification through the integration of information presented in the Clinical Medicine and Physical Diagnosis courses. Multiple critical thinking sessions using team learning techniques are used to explore problems involving the heart, lungs, abdomen, kidney and lower urinary tract.
Course Director: Wendi Stewart, MS, PA-C and faculty
Course Offered: October through December of each academic year
Credits: 1

62911 PAPSM Problem Solving in Medicine II

This course assist students develop their skills at differential diagnosis and problem identification through the integration of information presented in the Clinical Medicine, Physical Diagnosis and Diagnostic Testing courses. Multiple critical thinking sessions using team learning techniques are used to explore problems involving the musculoskeletal, special sensory, central and peripheral nervous systems, and the hematopoietic system.
Course Director: Wendi Stewart, MS, PA-C and faculty
Course Offered: January through July of each academic year
Credits: 2

62421 PAETH Medical Ethics

The goals of this course are to introduce students to the basic concepts and language of medical ethics, to acquaint students with clinically relevant topics in medical ethics, and to provide an opportunity for students to develop skills in the application of medical ethics to clinical cases. Also to provide students throughout their training with the general conceptual and clinical skills of medical ethics required of all physicians and physician assistants.
Course Director: Amy McGuire, JD, Ph.D. and faculty
Course Offered: April and May of each academic year
Credits: 2

62531 PAPED Pediatrics

This course is designed to provide an overview of general pediatrics using lectures and skills sessions. The course introduces students to common health problems effecting the pediatric patient from the newborn period to adolescence. Each lecture focuses on the important aspects of health promotion, disease prevention, pathology, screening, patient education, and counseling provided to the pediatric patient and their family. The purpose of the practicum is to expose students to hands-on experience with different ages of pediatric patients. This course begins with health prevention, physical examination of the pediatric patient, and progresses to specific pediatric problems.
Course Director: Elizabeth Elliott, MS, PA-C and faculty
Course Offered: During June and July of each academic year
Credits: 3

63801 PAPRM Pharmacology I

This course promotes an understanding of the general principles of pharmacology and their application of these principles to patient care situations. Students will learn the mechanism of action of drugs in different therapeutic classes and understand how use of these drug interacts with the pathophysiology of the disease under treatment; learn the most common effects and side effects for prototypic drugs in each category; become comfortable with sources of information about drugs, drug side effects and drug interactions; learn the drug of choice for diseases; and know which drugs have potentially fatal side effects.
Course Director: Ramachandr Reddy, Ph.D., and faculty
Course Offered: August through December of each academic year
Credits: 3

62811 PAPRM Pharmacology II

This course continues the study of the mechanisms of action of drugs in different therapeutic classes and their effects on the pathophysiology of disease states under treatment.
Course Director: Ramachandr Reddy, Ph.D., and faculty
Course Offered: January through February of each academic year
Credits: 2

64221 AHPHY Human Physiology I

This course is designed to help students understand the fundamentals of cellular and systems physiology with a focus on normal human physiology. Clinical examples that illustrate the consequences of malfunction are used to emphasize, by comparison, normal physiology; however, the focus is not on diagnosis and treatment. A major emphasis of the course is on the mechanisms of normal organ function. The course includes both lectures and small group applied physiological principles sessions incorporating team-learning skills
Course Director: David Johnson, Ph.D. and faculty
Course Offered: August through December of each academic year
Credits: 4

62222 AHPHY Human Physiology II

This course continues the study of cellular and systems physiology emphasizing the mechanisms of normal organ function. Clinical examples of the consequences of malfunction are used to emphasize, by comparison, normal physiology.
Course Director: David Johnson, Ph.D. and faculty
Course Offered: December through February of each academic year
Credits: 2

66601 PAPHD Physical Diagnosis I

The first semester of this course focuses on developing skills to perform a complete history and physical examination on patients over the spectrum of ages and clinical situations that a physician assistant may encounter in clinical practice. The learning experiences emphasize the principles, skills, routines and special tests appropriate for the assessment of disease involving the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. A secondary aim of this course is the development of skills in formulating an appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan derived from information taken in the history and identified from the physical exam. The course will stress the accurate presentation of information in both written and oral forms.
Course Director: Stephanie DeSandro, MS, PA-C and faculty
Course Offered: July through December of each academic year
Credits: 6

66602 PAPHD Physical Diagnosis II

The second semester continues to develop skills in performing a complete and problem-specific history and physical examination on patients over the spectrum of ages and clinical situations. The learning experiences focus upon the principles, skills, routines and special tests appropriate for the assessment of diseases involving the eyes, ears, nose, throat, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, dermatological, musculoskeletal, and nervous systems. This semester will continue the development of an appropriate differential diagnosis and plan for the further evaluation and management of an identified problem with accurate presentation of information in both written and oral forms.
Course Director: Stephanie DeSandro, MS, PA-C and faculty
Course Offered: January through July of each academic year
Credits: 3

62411 PAPRI Professional Role Issues I

This three-block course provides students a historical perspective of the evolving professional, clinical, and intra-professional roles carried out by physician assistants through a study of the organizational, political, legal, and socioeconomic forces that have and continue to shape the profession.
Course Director: Carl Fasser, PA and faculty
Course Offered: January through July each academic year
Credits: 2

62441 PASPN Spanish Elective

This language workshop provides students with the knowledge and skills required to conduct and interview and physical examination of a person with Spanish as the primary language.
Course Director: Guadalupe Quintanilla, Ed.D. and faculty
Course Offered: August of each academic year
Credits: 3

62521 PAWHI Women's Health

This one-block course focuses on the normal physiological and sexual development of women and their health maintenance concerns at various life stages. The manifestation, evaluation, and treatment of common pertinent disease entities are addressed as is the evaluation and management of the expectant woman. Additionally, the course is designed to assist students in attaining a sensitive approach in providing health maintenance education in addition to breast, gynecological and obstetrical examinations. Students will be able to recognize common gynecological and obstetrical problems and understand the appropriate therapeutic intervention for their management. Problem specific histories, obstetrical, and gynecological examinations will be performed.
Course Director: Laurel Spence, MS, PA-C and faculty
Course Offered: March and April of each academic term
Credits: 2

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