Phase I Curriculum

Phase I Overview
The Phase I curriculum consists of twelve modules that comprise year one and year two of the four-year medical school program. These modules integrate core basic science disciplines including anatomy, biochemistry, histology, microbiology, neuroscience, pathology, pharmacology, and physiology as well as basic clinical skills, preventive medicine, ethics, behavioral sciences, and other topics relevant to clinical practice.

Year 1
CORE 800  Foundations of Medicine, 8 weeks
Director: Joe Fontes, PhD
Clinical Co-Director: Jana Zaudke, MD

CORE 805  Genetics and Neoplasia, 4 weeks
Director: James Calvet, PhD
Clinical Co-Director: Gary Doolittle, MD and Debra Collins, MS

CORE 810  Inflammation and Immunity, 4 weeks
Director: Thomas Yankee, PharmD, PhD
Co-Director: Jim Fishback, MD
Clinical Co-Director: Selina Gierer, DO

CORE 815  Cardiopulmonary, 8 weeks
Director: John Wood, PhD
Clinical Co-Directors: David Naylor, MDLeslie Spikes, MDOssamma Tawfik, MD, PhD 

CORE 820  Gastrointestinal Tract and Nutrition, 4 weeks
Directors: Xiaoming Zhang, PhD and Robert Klein, PhD
Clinical Co-Director: Daniel Buckles, MD

CORE 825  Renal and Endocrine, 4 weeks
Director: Mike Wolfe, PhD
Clinical Co-Director: Rajib Bhattacharya, MD

CORE 830  Reproduction and Sexuality, 4 weeks
Director, George Enders, PhD
Clinical Co-Director: Linden Collins, MD

Year 2
CORE 835  Musculoskeletal and Soft Tissue, 4 weeks
Director: George Enders, PhD
Clinical Co-Director: Kim Templeton, MD

CORE 840  Brain and Behavior, 8 weeks
Director: Dianne Durham, PhD
Clinical Co-Director: Gary Gronseth, MD

CORE 845  Blood and Lymph, 4 weeks
Directors: Mark Cunningham, MD and Chris Crenner, MD
Clinical Co-Director: Sid Ganguly, MD

CORE 850  Infectious Diseases, 6 weeks
Director: Wolf Zueckert, PhD
Clinical Co-Director: Jessica Newman, DO

CORE 860  Integration and Consolidation, 8 weeks
Director: Beth Levant, PhD
Co-Director: Jim Fishback, MD


As the curriculum is fluid, module directors often revise their schedules. Updated calendars are posted immediately upon revision. Please be sure to check the Academic Calendars page often. The latest revision date is listed under each academic calendar. Updates are also immediately reflected in the JayDocs calendar.

Curriculum Activities
Lecture: Lectures are typically held between 9 am and noon, Monday-Friday. Lecture scheduling varies for each module. Students are reminded to check the latest calendar posting to ensure that they are aware of the lecture schedule.

Small Group: Small group meetings in which students analyze and discuss topics related specifically to the module content.

 Histopathology Lab:  The University of Kansas, School of Medicine is a leader in virtual microscopy for the study of histopathology in undergraduate medical education. Students view virtual slides via the Aperio Digital Pathology software. Each laboratory integrates histology and pathology with a detailed protocol provided through the JayDocs Learning Management System. The protocol includes links to digital slides, a narrated overview of each virtual slide, and appropriate clinical cases. The difficulty and amount of pathology content in the clinical cases increases as students advance; from the 4 basic tissues and the integumentary system in the Foundations module, to more complex organs and organ pathology in later modules. Active learning is achieved through peer-to-peer teaching coupled with the students' developing their own specific learning objectives and an atlas for each laboratory. A faculty instructor/facilitator is present in each room to facilitate the sessions and provide further detail and input to student learning of the pathophysiology of disease. At the end of each session, students take an on-line quiz, based on the content for that lab. Questions are designed to integrate histology and pathology, through the use of clinical vignettes.

Gross Anatomy Lab: Activity in which students dissect human cadavers to learn the size, shape, feel and location of anatomical structures and how these structures can vary from one body to another.

Clinical Skills Lab: Lab activities include Standardized Patient (SP) encounters that are integrated into the modules and will sometimes correlate with PBL sessions. There are also scheduled small group sessions with Physical Exam Teaching Assistants (PETAs) during which students will learn and practice the clinical exam components that correlate with the modules.

Problem-Based-Learning (PBL). Student-centered, small group activity that allows students to examine a hypothetical case relevant to a particular module. The PBL case is a 2-session activity in which students sequentially receive case information and must analyze and diagnose the patient’s condition. The PBL case sometimes involves interacting with a Standardized Patient in the Neis Clinical Skills Laboratory. This activity helps students develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills as applied in a clinical setting.

Preceptor Visit. Each student is assigned to a preceptor whom they shadow in a clinical setting. Each visit with the preceptor is an opportunity to practice skills learned during lectures and in the clinical skills lab. It is also an opportunity to observe and learn how to be a medical professional. The goal of preceptor visits is to provide general exposure to clinical skills in various settings. Preceptors represent a wide variety of disciplines that may not always directly address the content area specific to any given module. The visits, however, do provide an opportunity for students to better understand clinical skills and professional practices.

Neuro Lab. This activity is unique to the Brain and Behavior module in Year 2. The purpose of these sessions is to teach students about the general organization of the central nervous system, the major pathways that subserve its sensory and motor functions, and its vascular supply. In the lab sessions, instructors will use gross brain specimens, photographs and drawings from the Haines atlas, as well as other diagrams and photographs, to illustrate the laboratory material.

Writing Assignments: Modules may include a brief writing assignment that include such topics as health disparities and health care issues that impact the elderly.


Faculty/Physician Information

Serving as a Preceptor
The KU School of Medicine uses community physicians to serve as preceptors. Students consistently rate the preceptor experience as one of the “best parts” of their medical school education and state that these experiences are invaluable for learning to apply learned skills in “real life” settings. Preceptors report that these teaching experiences are meaningful and rewarding opportunities to impart their knowledge, skills and attitudes to students.

Preceptors meet with their assigned student(s) for 3-4 hours per module (seven times in Year 1; six times in Year 2) and receive a copy of the “objectives” for each module visit prior to the student visit.

Volunteer preceptors must have a Volunteer Faculty Appointments at the University of Kansas. As a volunteer faculty member, preceptors have full access to Dykes Library, the Kirmayer Fitness Center and will be assigned a KU e-mail account.


Serving as a PBL Facilitator
Problem-Based-Learning (PBL) is a student-centered, small group activity that allows students to examine a hypothetical case relevant to a particular module. This activity helps students develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills as applied in a clinical setting. The role of the facilitator is to encourage participation, monitor the group's progress and provides guidance when necessary. The facilitator neither lectures nor leads the activity.
Facilitators agree to meet with their assigned group for each PBL session during an entire academic year. Occasionally, two facilitators are assigned to one group. In this case, it is common for facilitators to take turns facilitating sessions. On occasion, both facilitators decide to attend each session.

If you would like to serve as a preceptor or a PBL facilitator, please contact Dorothea Paiva at 913-945-6671 or


CME Credit
Volunteer preceptors are eligible to claim up to 20 hours of self-reported AAFP Prescribed credit for teaching medical students. This activity is also eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 credit. At the end of the academic year, preceptors receive a frame-able certificate and a letter of appreciation.


  • Who to contact for preceptor extensions:
    Kansas City: Pam Shaw, MD, Medical Director of Neis Clinical Skills Lab
    Salina: Michael Robinson, PhD, Associate Director of Basic Sciences
    Wichita: Garold Minns, MD, Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs

  • Who to contact for questions about grades:
    Regarding a score or grade, please contact the module director.
    Regarding the posting of scores in the JayDocs gradebook or in Enroll and Pay, please contact Melissa Quearry.

  • Who to contact with questions about curriculum activities (small group, PBL, histopathology lab, gross lab):
    The module director.
  • Who to contact for questions about activities in the Clinical Skills Lab
    Clinical Skills Lab staff.


Phase I Staff

  • Melissa Quearry, MPA
    Program Manager, Phase I Curriculum
    School of Medicine, Dean's Office
    Office of Medical Education
    3025 Murphy
    MS 1049, 3901 Rainbow Boulevard
    Kansas City, Kansas 66160
    tel: 913-588-7211
    fax: 913-588-7235

  • Dorothea Paiva, MA
    Coordinator, Phase I Curriculum
    School of Medicine, Dean's Office
    Office of Medical Education
    3025 Murphy
    MS 1049, 3901 Rainbow Boulevard
    Kansas City, Kansas 66160
    tel: 913-945-6671
    fax: 913-588-7235

Last modified: Nov 12, 2015