Course Descriptions

The following courses comprise the didactic phase of the Yale Physician Associate Program. They are designed to build the foundation in basic and clinical sciences that underlies the study of medicine and PA practice.

Human Anatomy I (3 credits)

This is the first in a series of courses designed to develop an understanding of normal clinical anatomy. Students develop their psychomotor skills with full-anatomy cadaver dissections performed in small groups of four to six students. These labs are supplemented with lectures covering the systematic and developmental anatomy of the human body, with faculty in Yale's Department of Surgery utilizing surgical and medical case studies as a vehicle to teach anatomy within a clinical context. State-of-the-art computer-based learning with online self-assessment and hologram and imaging techniques are used in the study of anatomy to improve spatial ability and to help the students think three-dimensionally.
Prerequisites: Admission in the physician assistant program.

Human Anatomy II (3 credits)

This is the second in a series of courses designed to develop an understanding of normal clinical anatomy. Students develop their psychomotor skills with full-anatomy cadaver dissections performed in small groups of four to six students. These labs are supplemented with lectures covering the systematic and developmental anatomy of the human body, with faculty in Yale's Department of Surgery utilizing surgical and medical case studies as a vehicle to teach anatomy within a clinical context. State-of-the-art computer-based learning with online self-assessment and hologram and imaging techniques are used in the study of anatomy to improve spatial ability and to help the students think three-dimensionally.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of prior semester of PA course work or program permission.

Human Anatomy III (3 credits)

This is the third in a series of courses designed to develop an understanding of normal clinical anatomy. Students develop their psychomotor skills with full-anatomy cadaver dissections performed in small groups of four to six students. These labs are supplemented with lectures covering the systematic and developmental anatomy of the human body, with faculty in Yale's Department of Surgery utilizing surgical and medical case studies as a vehicle to teach anatomy within a clinical context. State-of-the-art computer-based learning with online self-assessment and hologram and imaging techniques are used in the study of anatomy to improve spatial ability and to help the students think three-dimensionally.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of prior semester of PA course work or program permission.

Basic Science I (2 credits)

This is the first in a series of courses designed to develop an understanding of normal physiology, genetics, pathologic and pathophysiologic concepts of diseases per organ system. The physiology component covers normal physiology for the organ systems under study. The genetics component introduces the concepts of patterns of inheritance, formulation of the family history, reviews genetic abnormalities and pharmacogenomics. Indications for genetic testing and counseling are also reviewed. The microbiology component covers how to identify the various pathogens responsible for human disease. Topics covered include bacteriology, mycology, parasitology, and virology. Pathophysiology explores the etiology of organic and systemic disease.
Prerequisites: Admission in the physician assistant program.

Basic Science II (2 credits)

This is the second in a series of courses designed to develop an understanding of normal physiology, genetics, pathologic and pathophysiologic concepts of diseases per organ system. The physiology component covers normal physiology for the organ systems under study. The microbiology component covers how to identify the various pathogens responsible for human disease. Topics covered include bacteriology, mycology, parasitology, and virology. Pathophysiology explores the etiology of organic and systemic disease.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of prior semester of PA course work or program permission.

Basic Science III (2 credits)

This is the third in a series of courses designed to develop an understanding of normal physiology, genetics, pathologic and pathophysiologic concepts of diseases per organ system. The physiology component covers normal physiology for the organ systems under study. The microbiology component covers how to identify the various pathogens responsible for human disease. Topics covered include bacteriology, mycology, parasitology, and virology. Pathophysiology explores the etiology of organic and systemic disease.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of prior semester of PA course work or program permission.

Patient Assessment I (3 credits)

This is the first in a series of courses designed to develop the knowledge and skills required to obtain and record the complete medical history, use of appropriate equipment, proper techniques, and accurate medical terminology to document findings; course will provide an overview of the medical record as well as development of writing and organizational skills for medical record keeping and oral presentation skills. Skills will be developed through structured laboratory exercises and community experiences.
Prerequisites: Admission in the physician assistant program.

Patient Assessment II (3 credits)

This is the second in a series of courses designed to develop the knowledge and skills required to obtain and record the complete medical history, use of appropriate equipment, proper techniques, and accurate medical terminology to document findings; course will provide an overview of the medical record as well as development of writing and organizational skills for medical record keeping and oral presentation skills. Skills will be developed through structured laboratory exercises and community experiences.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of prior semester of PA course work or program permission.

Patient Assessment III (3 credits)

This is the third in a series of courses designed to develop the knowledge and skills required to obtain and record the complete medical history, use of appropriate equipment, proper techniques, and accurate medical terminology to document findings; course will provide an overview of the medical record as well as development of writing and organizational skills for medical record keeping and oral presentation skills. Skills will be developed through structured laboratory exercises and community experiences.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of prior semester of PA course work or program permission.

Diagnostic Studies I (1 credit)

This is the first in a series of courses designed to develop a functional understanding of the appropriate uses and interpretations of clinical diagnostic testing, including radiographic testing. Students will learn to select, interpret and evaluate clinical laboratory, imaging and other diagnostic tests used for diagnosing, treating, and managing patient needs.
Prerequisites: Admission in the physician assistant program.

Diagnostic Studies II (1 credit)

This is the second in a series of courses designed to develop a functional understanding of the appropriate uses and interpretations of clinical diagnostic testing, including radiographic and EKG testing. Students will learn to select, interpret and evaluate clinical laboratory, imaging and other diagnostic tests used for diagnosing, treating, and managing patient needs.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of prior semester of PA course work or program permission.

Diagnostic Studies III (1 credit)

This is the third in a series of courses designed to develop a functional understanding of the appropriate uses and interpretations of clinical diagnostic testing, including radiographic testing. Students will learn to select, interpret and evaluate clinical laboratory, imaging and other diagnostic tests used for diagnosing, treating, and managing patient needs.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of prior semester of PA course work or program permission.

Clinical Medicine I (5 credits)

This is the first in a series of courses designed to provide an intensive study of human diseases and disorders, using a lifespan approach from pediatrics to geriatrics, in the areas of clinical medicine including epidemiology, etiology, historical data, clinical manifestations, progression, therapeutic management, prevention, laboratory medicine, and prognosis. Emphasis will be on disease processes common to primary care practices, and the development of differential diagnoses and plan based upon the patient's clinical presentation.
Prerequisites: Admission in the physician assistant program.

Clinical Medicine II (5 credits)

This is the second in a series of courses designed to provide an intensive study of human diseases and disorders, using a lifespan approach from pediatrics to geriatrics, in the areas of clinical medicine including epidemiology, etiology, historical data, clinical manifestations, progression, therapeutic management, prevention, laboratory medicine, and prognosis. Emphasis will be on disease processes common to primary care practices, and the development of differential diagnoses and plan based upon the patient's clinical presentation.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of prior semester of PA course work or program permission.

Clinical Medicine III (5 credits)

This is the third in a series of courses designed to provide an intensive study of human diseases and disorders, using a lifespan approach from pediatrics to geriatrics, in the areas of clinical medicine including epidemiology, etiology, historical data, clinical manifestations, progression, therapeutic management, prevention, laboratory medicine, and prognosis. Emphasis will be on disease processes common to primary care practices, and the development of differential diagnoses and plan based upon the patient's clinical presentation.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of prior semester of PA course work or program permission.

Pharmacology I (3 credits)

This is the first in a series of courses designed to develop skills related to the principles of pharmacology as they pertain to therapeutic agents, prescription and non-prescription. Discussion will include the principal mechanisms of action of the major classes of therapeutic agents, understanding of pharmacodynamics, uses, side effects, and toxicities.
Prerequisites: Admission in the physician assistant program.

Pharmacology II (3 credits)

This is the second in a series of courses designed to develop skills related to the principles of pharmacology as they pertain to therapeutic agents, prescription and non-prescription. Discussion will include the principal mechanisms of action of the major classes of therapeutic agents, understanding of pharmacodynamics, uses, side effects, and toxicities.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of prior semester of PA course work or program permission.

Pharmacology III (3 credits)

This is the third in a series of courses designed to develop skills related to the principles of pharmacology as they pertain to therapeutic agents, prescription and non-prescription. Discussion will include the principal mechanisms of action of the major classes of therapeutic agents, understanding of pharmacodynamics, uses, side effects, and toxicities.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of prior semester of PA course work or program permission.

Behavioral and Preventive Medicine I (1 credit)

This is the first in a series of courses designed to develop skills in the area of patient communication, patient counseling, patient education, and cultural diversity and how they influence all aspects of medical practice. Instruction is focused on the detection and application of public health/preventive measures and treatment of health risk behaviors including high-risk behaviors, sexuality, nutrition, substance abuse, sexuality, and reaction to illness.
Prerequisites: Admission in the physician assistant program.

Behavioral and Preventive Medicine II (1 credit)

This is the second in a series of courses designed to develop skills in the area of patient communication, patient counseling, patient education, and cultural diversity and how they influence all aspects of medical practice. Instruction is focused on the detection and application of public health/preventive measures and treatment of health risk behaviors including stress, substance abuse, rehabilitation, end of life issues, and reaction to illness.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of prior semester of PA course work or program permission.

Behavioral and Preventive Medicine III (1 credit)

This is the third in a series of courses designed to develop skills in the area of patient communication, patient counseling, patient education, and cultural diversity and how they influence all aspects of medical practice. Instruction is focused on the detection and application of public health/preventive measures and treatment of health risk behaviors including abuse and violence, substance abuse, health disparities, complimentary medicine, and reaction to illness.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of prior semester of PA course work or program permission.

Preparing Future PAs I (1 credit)

This is the first in a series of courses designed to aid the student in the transition into the medical profession and serves as an introduction to professional practice issues. Areas of discussion include history of the physician assistant profession, the PA-Physician team, professional organizations, licensing and credentialing, malpractice, and professionalism.
Prerequisites: Admission in the physician assistant program.

Preparing Future PAs II (1 credit)

This course is designed to aid the student in the transition into the medical profession and serves as an introduction to bioethics. Areas of discussion include confidentiality, truth telling, competency, making informed decisions, and other ethical issues.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of prior semester of PA course work or program permission.

Preparing Future PAs III (1 credit)

This course is designed to aid the student in the transition into the medical profession and serves as an introduction to professional practice issues and medical economics. Areas of discussion include health care delivery systems, quality and safety, and reimbursement issues including Medicaid and Medicare.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of prior semester of PA course work or program permission.

Research I (1 credit)

This course will cover the importance of evidence-based medicine and review basic statistical, research methods, and ethical standards in research. It will also cover the interpretation and application of various types of clinical articles to answering a clinical question.
Prerequisites: Admission in the physician assistant program.

Research II (1 credit)

This course will apply the knowledge and skills from Research and Evidence Based Medicine I in small group session and Journal clubs. It will cover the interpretation and application of various types of clinical articles used to answer a clinical question and prepare the student for the masters thesis project to be completed during the clinical year.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of prior semester of PA course work or program permission.

Research III (1 credit)

This course will apply the knowledge and skills from Research and Evidence Based Medicine I in small group session and Journal clubs. It will cover the interpretation and application of various types of clinical articles used to answer a clinical question and prepare the student for the masters thesis project to be completed during the clinical year.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of prior semester of PA course work or program permission.

Electives

As electives, these courses are optional for PA students. Students do not earn credit for participating in these electives.

Global Health Elective

This elective is intended for students in the allied health sciences to develop an understanding of and competence in the sociopolitical, economic and cultural aspects of global health. As the course involves both students and faculty from all of the health professional schools, its participatory and collaborative nature provides a rich environment for interdisciplinary dialogue.
Prerequisites: Admission in the physician assistant program.

Spanish for Health Care Professionals

This practical course is designed to improve participants' Spanish language and cultural skills to better understand and connect with patients. The course focuses on the language and cross-cultural communication skills that are most relevant for clinical practice.
Prerequisites: Admission in the physician assistant program.

First year students during a Human Anatomy lecture.

First year students during a Human Anatomy lecture.