Medical School Curriculum
Shaping Minds, Defining Futures.
The American Canadian School of Medicine (ACSOM) Medical Degree Program is a four-year curriculum developed by faculty members of elite U.S. medical schools, including Yale and Penn State. Our case-based, clinical problem-solving approach utilizes small student groups to analyze patient cases, identify knowledge gaps, and ensure students have a firm grasp of the curriculum’s basic science.
Our education is small-group driven rather than lecture-based. Typically, students will spend their day on campus in a group of 8-10, with one faculty member. When in clinic, generally 2-4 students are paired with each physician.
ACSOM’s integrated curriculum allows students to become involved in a clinical and hospital setting from day one—a highly unique opportunity. ACSOM faculty is also incorporated into Dominica’s healthcare system, including faculty members managing the specialty ambulatory clinics and working at the main teaching hospital. Clinical work in the ambulatory and inpatient setting is structured around a team that is composed of a faculty member, a resident, and 2-4 medical students. This is a feature that is unique to ACSOM.
Most other “island-based” medical schools do not have access to local ambulatory and hospital clinics and have not developed clinical faculty on their island. Their students’ clinical integration begins in Year 3, when students are sent to work with clinical affiliates in the United States. ACSOM is the first such school that has designed its clinical integration similar to any modern, first-rate U.S.-based medical school.
Curriculum by Year 2023-2025
4 years course Breakdown
This year is built upon six master courses and two longitudinal threads. Each course is taught in 4-7 weeks. The threads run for the whole year. The Anatomy Lab is a longitudinal course that runs through most of the first two years. Being a Doctor: Introduction to Clinical Medicine is another longitudinal course that offers an early clinical experience to students, who begin to participate in the standardized patients program and ACSOM unique virtual clinical simulation, “CyberPatient.” First-year medical students attend clinical settings one afternoon every two weeks for 12 months. These regular clinical sessions allow students to learn hands-on in a longitudinal experience from a healthcare team, as well as from their patients.
Foundation of Medicine
The goal of the Foundations of Medical Science course is to review molecular bases of life and prepare students for further studies. During this course, students will become familiar with basic knowledge in 6 fundamental disciplines; biochemistry, molecules, cells/tissues, pathology, genes and development, oncology, and basic pharmacology.
Attack and Defense
This course is dedicated to immunology and microbiology. It is built on the previous block and reviews all key concepts in these two areas. This course is an introduction to basic immunology, virology, and microbiology. Emphasis is first placed on understanding the fundamentals of these disciplines, with examples relevant to clinical and diagnostic medicine.
Skeletal Structure and Function
In this 4-week block, students will learn several of the most common conditions, including pathophysiological features, diagnosis, and basic management options. The first two weeks are dedicated to skin and adnexal disorders. The second half of this block considers muscle and bone disorders.
This course is designed to focus on the general aspects of the heart and circulatory system. The first portion focuses on the erythrocyte life cycle and function. The second portion of the course focuses on platelets, bleeding control, and homeostasis. The third portion of the course focuses on the heart and the blood vessels describing structure, function, physiology, and pathophysiology within the cardiovascular organ system. Many of the common conditions related to heart and vascular disease will be covered during this course.
This course is designed to focus on the general aspects, such as development, physiology and pathophysiology of the pulmonary, renal, and urinary systems and acid-base disturbances. The first portion includes basic sciences about the respiratory system. The next portion of the course focuses on renal and urinary system overview. And the last portion is focused on acid-base disturbances.
Energy & Metabolism
This course is designed to provide a deep experience in gastroenterology and hepatology aimed at gaining an understanding of the pathophysiology, molecular pathogenesis, and clinical management of diseases and exposure to current research in the field. This course also covers metabolism, hormones, and nutrition.
This year includes 6 courses and 2 longitudinal threads. Each course is 5-10 weeks long and the threads run throughout the year.
Adaptation And Reproduction
This course will focus on the endocrine and reproductive systems, specifically the cellular and physiological functions of hormones in health and disease. The emphasis will be made on understanding the underlying principles of endocrinology and mechanisms involved in hormone regulation.
Sense And Sensibilities
This is a dedicated neuroscience unit that covers the central and peripheral nervous system and the related physiology, pathology, and pharmacology. It integrates these studies with the discipline of behavioral science and includes introduction to clinical psychiatry. This course overlaps with the anatomy lab to maximize student immersion in the discipline.
This course is designed to focus on embryology, pediatrics, and geriatrics general aspects. It is divided into three large parts. The first portion includes embryological development. The second portion of the course focuses on pediatric aspects, from newborns to adolescents. And in the last days of the course, we will cover some aspects of geriatrics, health care planning, medication management, and atypical presentations of diseases.
Community-Based Medicine, Public Health And Health Policy
This course is created to provide students with a better understanding of the sciences of the North American healthcare system, including policy, cultural biases, and legal and social determinants of health.
Preparation For The Clerkships
The objective of this course is to prepare students for their clerkship. This course combines simulation with regular class instruction in medical decision-making and development of procedural competencies.
Clinical Reasoning And Critical Thinking
Students will be acquainted with the process of clinical reasoning including heuristics, different approaches, learning and teaching methodologies, and the sequence of problem-solving. Trainees will also learn how to recognize and monitor cognitive biases.
Longitudinal courses from Year 1 will continue during the second year. Intensive practice and USMLE preparations are added this year to ensure students are successful in passing their exam and starting their third-year clerkship experience.
Year 3 provides students with foundational knowledge of the basic clinical, medical, psychiatric, and surgical fields. Students will complete required rotations in Surgery, Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Neurology, and Obstetrics & Gynecology. Students complete these rotations at the American Canadian School of Medicine teaching hospitals and healthcare facilities. Clinical core rotations will be contracted with specific teaching hospitals in the U.S. and Canada in the future and scheduled through ACSOM for qualified students.
This year prepares each individual for the transition to residency training in the U.S. and Canada. Required senior rotations include acute care medicine (4 weeks), subinternship requirement (8 weeks), an additional 4 weeks in medicine, and 4 weeks in either Surgery/OB/Pediatrics subspecialties. Students complete these rotations at the American Canadian School of Medicine teaching hospital and healthcare facilities. International rotations will be contracted with specific teaching hospitals and facilities in the U.S. and Canada in the future and scheduled through ACSOM for qualified students.
Global Health Requirement is 6 weeks and offered along with the American Canadian School of Medicine online Tropical Medicine and Emerging Infection course. These requirements stem from the belief that tomorrow’s medical graduates need to have ‘global health’ competencies to effectively deal with emerging epidemics and pandemics.