|Degrees Offered / Length of Time: ||MD, 4 years; MD/PhD, 7 years|
|Grading System: ||EH=Excellent with Honors, E=Excellent, G=Good, M=Marginal, U=Unsatisfacyory|
Albany Medical College responded to the changing health care needs in the United States by restructuring its curriculum in 1993 to better address contemporary issues in health care, while simultaneously providing a solid clinical and scientific education. The curriculum focuses specifically on the principles and practices of comprehensive care—health care that addresses the full spectrum of patient needs from medical and preventive to palliative and psychosocial. Grades of honors, excellent, good, marginal, and unsatisfactory are used to evaluate student performance. In the clinical years narrative assessments of performance are also used as an important evaluation tool. Graduation requirements include passing Step 1 of the USMLE and taking Step 2, including the clinical skills exam.
Basic science education is coordinated and integrated in a manner that spans all four years of medical school, systematically increasing basic science knowledge within the context of clinical medicine. By teaching within a clinical context, the college offers a learning environment that focuses on developing problem-solving skills. Basic science concepts are divided into themes or modules that are most often organ based. Taught in conjunction with clinical case experience, these modules come together to form the foundation for the clinical education. In the first year students combine basic science instruction with clinical cases to focus on normal function. In the second year students further expand their knowledge and focus primarily on abnormal function and the disease state. Students learn clinical skills beginning in their first year by working within small groups and interacting with standardized patients who are trained to simulate actual illness. Students explore legal, ethical, and humanistic concerns in a four-year module called Health Care and Society. Systems of health care, epidemiology, biostatistics, and the principals of evidence based medicine are concurrently studied in a four-year module called Evidence Based Healthcare. Fundamental knowledge of nutrition also begins in year one and is integrated in all four years of the curriculum. Managing information is a key component throughout all thematic modules. The Schaffer Library of Health Sciences houses more than 144,000 volumes, 974 journals in print and 8500 available on-line, contains 3,900 multimedia programs and has 40 computer stations in the independent learning center. Throughout their medical education, students rely on these resources as well as the support of the library faculty.
An innovative experience, Orientation Clerkship, transitions students from the first two years of the curriculum to the clinical and rotation requirements of the final two years. This two-week clerkship occurs during the summer prior to year three. These learning opportunities on standardized patients enable medical students to develop, practice, and enhance their clinical skills and abilities. Students participate in mock preceptor rounds, assess their own clinical skills and perform basic medical procedures. The third year required clinical clerkships are a combination of hospital-based experiences to hospital- and ambulatory-based experiences. The third-year required clerkships are Medicine (12 weeks); Surgery (8 weeks); Ob/Gyn (6 weeks); Pediatrics (8 weeks); Family Practice (6 weeks); and Psychiatry (6 weeks). Fourth-year rotation requirements are Emergency Medicine (4 weeks); Neuro/Opthomology (4 weeks); Critical Care (4 weeks); and an elective in either Family Practice, Medicine, Surgery or Pediatrics (4 weeks). Required rotations take place primarily at Albany Medical Center Hospital as well as other regional and local community hospitals, community health centers, psychiatric inpatient units, nursing homes, adult homes, and in patients’ homes. The remainder of fourth year includes electives chosen by the students.