Students in a science class

Year 1

Scientific Trunk

The science behind the medicine.

The Scientific Trunk is your M1 preclinical year, the starting point in a journey of continuous learning. Integrating foundational science and related clinical experiences simulates what you will do throughout doctorhood. Regular practice now cements a valuable lifelong habit while building your knowledge and skill base. Pass/fail grading gives you some breathing room to figure it all out.

Faculty teaches in a lecture hall

The main features of the Scientific Trunk include:

  • Launch orientation featuring M-Home house sorting and Doctoring small group assignments.
  • Foundational courses in molecular/biological sciences, evidence-based care, host defense, physical diagnostics and therapeutics, infection, hematology and immunopathology, along with blocks of fused normal/abnormal vital functions.
  • Chief Concern course and Interprofessional Education modules.
  • Development of patient care and information management skills throughout the year.
  • Additional longitudinal elements that start at this stage.
  • Histology lab.

Foundations of Medicine

The Scientific Trunk is divided into six blocks, three of which are Foundations of Medicine courses. These blocks introduce students to the biochemical, cellular and molecular process of the organ systems, physical diagnostics and therapeutics, and an overview of the immune system and its primary targets.

Students in an anatomy lab

Vital Functions

The three Vital Functions blocks consolidate the foundational material for related organ systems with both normal and abnormal physiology presented at the same time. Combined with related clinical cases, anatomy, and histology, this makes for deeply integrated content that reinforces what you learn.

Vital Function Blocks:

  • Circulation, respiration and filtration.
  • Nutrition, absorption, regulation and reproduction. 
  • Cognition, movement, sensation and behavior.

By the end of the Scientific Trunk, you will have gained a comprehensive skill set that prepares you for expanded clinical time in the Clinical Trunk rotations.

As a physician, you never stop learning. By focusing on foundational knowledge from the beginning, we help students continue to learn and understand that medical school is not an endpoint in itself. It is a huge advantage to acquire the skills for asking questions and figuring out how to go about finding the answer if it hasn’t been given to you.

Michelle M. Daniel, MD, Assistant Dean for Curriculum and Clinical Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine

At a Glance

Please note, these diagrams are provided for reference only. Curriculum details are subject to change.