The MD program at CUSM consists of academic courses, clinical experience (clinical clerkships, clinical sub-internships, electives), and research experience. The curriculum in the first and second year is system-based where basic scientific principles are fully integrated with clinical presentations of each system. There are 18 required integrated courses in the first 2 years including one foundational course, 10 multidisciplinary system-based courses, 6 longitudinal course focussed on clinical skills, professional development and research, and one board preparation course. Students at CUSM are introduced to the clinical sciences in their first year. The flipped classroom team-based teaching approach offers students opportunities to identify their own strengths and weaknesses and to assume responsibility for their own learning. Other modalities include readiness assurance testing, journal clubs, hands-on laboratories including virtual microscopy, and small-group problem-solving sessions within the context of clinical case presentations, simulation, standardized patient encounters, and service learning. Students rotate through a series of clinical clerkships, sub-internships, and electives in the third and fourth years during which key scientific principles are reinforced to complete the vertical integration across the four years of the MD program. Students also have opportunities for co-curricular learning within and outside of CUSM. Assessment of student achievement of learning outcomes is comprehensive and includes internal and external examinations, structured clinical tests, and evaluations. Students take the USMLE Board Step Exams at various times during the curriculum.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How does CUSM run its flipped classroom model?

A. For flipped classrooms, pre-class material is available online before class to enable students to review and come prepared to participate. Sessions begin with a test of readiness that students take individually (iRAT) and then collectively with their team (tRAT). Assurance testing is followed by team-based and/or large-group discussion, and participation activity with varying formats depending on the topic or instructor. Formats include audience response, question-answer, scratch-off cards, and jeopardy.

Q. When do students start clinical skills training?

A. Clinical Skills training begins in the second week of orientation (even before classes start). Clinical skills training in the formal curriculum begin in the first week of classes.

Q. When do students begin working on clinical cases?

A. Student start on clinical cases in Years 1 and 2 by engaging in self-directed learning and critical thinking by working with their team on a short clinical case each week. The case contains learning “triggers” that are aligned with learning outcomes for didactic material in flipped classroom and labs during the week. College faculty facilitate the process as teams review the clinical case, identify and address their learning needs, analyze the clinical problem, identify key points, and discuss issues raised by the guided categories for the activity (association between structure and function, critical thinking, inductive reasoning, deductive reasoning, therapeutics and cultural competency, evidence-based medicine).

Q. Through which hospitals and clinics do students rotate for clinical rotations and electives?

A. CUSM is expanding its clinical affiliate network that currently includes Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, St. Bernardine’s Medical Center, Temecula Valley Hospital, Rancho Springs Medical Center, Inland Valley Medical Center, Chino Valley Medical Center, Desert Valley Hospital, San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health, Walter Reed Hospital, Loma Linda Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Montclair Hospital medical Center. Students are also able to take “away electives” at locations throughout the U.S. and internationally through the AAMC Visiting Student Learning Opportunities.

Q. Do students get to select where they do their rotations?

A. Students provide their preferred locations for both clerkships and electives. A rotation lottery designed to maximize student choice is then held, followed by an exchange period to provide students the option to trade assigned rotations.

Q. Does CUSM have a simulation lab?

A. CUSM has a state-of-the-art Clinical Skills lab that includes 15 fully equipped Standardized Patient rooms and 4 high-fidelity simulation suites, as well as two debriefing rooms. All rooms are equipped with dual cameras. In addition to 3 high-fidelity SimMan patient simulators and Harvey cardiopulmonary patient simulator, CUSM has a wide variety of partial-task trainers to help students develop their examination and procedural skills.

Q. What labs do students take in the MD program?

A. Students attend labs mainly in anatomy and histology, with a few labs in pathology, microbiology and physiology. The laboratory experience is designed as hands-on small-group learning to enhance understanding and integration of concepts. Detailed resources have been developed for students to review prior to attending lab. The learning of histology is facilitated with virtual microscopy.

Q. What is College Colloquium?

A. The College Colloquium I course is a seminar-style discussion or workshop designed around faculty-led learning communities or colleges to which students are assigned at matriculation into CUSM. The course is designed around college-faculty-led sessions that includes invited presentations by experts and covers complex, multifaceted aspects of professional development, along with social and ethical issues that students will encounter in the practice of medicine. The College Colloquium I course includes journal club sessions as well as service-learning during which students engage in community-based service

Q. Do students get an opportunity to participate in research?

A. In the first and second year, all students take the academic research study courses during which they participate in research projects that lead to publication-suitable abstracts. Students are also able to participate in various research opportunities during summer.

Q. Are books and lab fees included in the tuition listed on the CUSM website?

A. The tuition for the MD program covers all books and labs. Required textbooks for the program are available electronically through the library.

Q. How do students get assessed?

A. Assessment of student achievement of learning outcomes is comprehensive and includes internal and external examinations, structured clinical tests, and evaluations. Students take the USMLE Board Step Exams at various times during the curriculum.