Welcome to the home page for the Non-Clinical Elective component of the Yale School of Medicine curriculum.
Yale School of Medicine offers many diverse and challenging elective experiences for medical students, that are overseen by committed faculty members. There is an ongoing process to review and improve electives to ensure the greatest quality and variety of learning experiences.
Elective Catalog Listing
- Teaching and Learning Center Medical Education Elective
This elective provides health care professional students with a unique opportunity to work together and explore their roles as teachers. The role of health care providers is deeply intertwined with their role as teachers - of patients and their families, of students, and of peers. The goal of this elective is to introduce health care professional students to their role as teachers. The elective makes use of didactic lectures, observations, group exercises, and teaching activities with the help of diverse and talented faculty in order to facilitate the development of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to help students develop their experience and identity as teachers as they transition to the next phase of their career.
The objectives of the Education Elective are:
1. To develop specific skills that will allow students to teach more effectively in various
clinical and classroom scenarios.
2. To observe and explore how to learn from role models in the workplace.
3. To describe the characteristics of effective teachers.
4. To describe the current state of health care education, with a focus on educational theory
and evidence derived from the education literature.
5. To develop the attitudes that place a strong emphasis on the value of teaching to promote
Assessment will be built into the elective through self-reflection and feedback from peers and faculty. These will include homework assignments and teaching activities. Students will also be asked to self-assess their previous knowledge of and exposure to each of the topics described in the course. All students will complete a set of objective structured teaching encounters (OSTEs) at the end of the course. They will be directly observed by faculty facilitators.
Length of Rotation: 2 weeks (maximum-12 students)
Scheduling Restriction(s): Cancelled Spring 2021
Student’s Class Level: 3rd, 4th, 5th year and beyond for MD and/or MD/PhD. PA and RN students based on their schedule and availability.
Accept Visiting Students: US - no; Int'l - yes. Visiting international students may combine this two-week elective with another elective to meet the four-week elective minimum requirement.
- Creating Healthcare and Life Science Ventures
This course will give students a broad understanding of the major “new venture” opportunities in healthcare & medicine---healthcare delivery, healthcare IT and the digital health landscape, biotechnology, medical devices, and healthcare process redesign especially in the surgical space. In each of these areas, they will understand the canonical path to commercialization including how to identify “unmet clinical needs”, market opportunities; who is the customer; how to build interdisciplinary teams; regulatory hurdles to commercialization, and creation of a business strategy. The course is designed for a diverse student body including students from management, natural sciences, medicine, law, nursing and healthcare management program. The course comprises lectures, raw cases, guest speakers, and in-class projects with coaching from the venture investor community.
Classes are held in the Yale School of Management, Evans Hall.
Course Number: MD 1275 (MGT 657)
- Evolution and Medicine
Intended audience: undergraduates who have had at least one biology course and medical students taking it as an elective.
Class size: The class will be capped at 15 with the target roughly 50% undergraduates and 50% medical students.
Format: The course is flipped, by which I mean the lectures are recorded and available on the web. Each week the assigned lectures and corresponding assigned reading in the text should be viewed/read before coming to class. That assignment will be tested with short-answer quizzes and reading responses, which must be submitted before class. Those who have not submitted those responses will not be allowed to come to class. Class will consist of discussion of the points in the lectures and readings that were found to be difficult and of recent research papers relevant to the topic at hand.
Evaluation and grading: The course is writing intensive for undergraduates, who must sign up for a section led by a teaching fellow who will give most of the feedback on writing. Their writing assignment will be a paper of 15-20 pages on a topic in evolutionary medicine chosen by the student and developed through outlines and drafts with multiple opportunities for feedback and revision. The assignment for medical students will be to substantially improve the Wikipedia page on a topic of their choice in evolutionary medicine. There will be no midterm and no final. For undergraduates, the semester papers will count for 50% of the grade, class participation will count for 25%, and the answers to the weekly questions will count for 25%.
Students will have a required text for this course.
Course Numbers: MD 1300 (E&EB 235 / HLTH 250)
- French for Healthcare Professionals
French for Health Care Professionals is a hybrid course offered in Fall and Spring by the Yale Center for Language Study. This hybrid course will meet two times a week: one time in a traditional classroom on campus (face-to-face) and another time online. All students in this course will be required to have a laptop, a headset, and access to the high speed Internet to participate in the online component of the class. During the online meetings, the students will be expected to be in a quiet space where they will be able to participate in online oral discussions. The course site is located in Canvas and the online meetings will use the online conference tool Big Blue Button in Canvas.
The course fee is $140 for students enrolled in a participating Yale Department or Program. The course fee for students not enrolled at Yale is $175, payable to the Yale University prior the start of the first class. You will be refunded the course fee if you drop within the first week (not later than 5:00pm of the first Friday). Should you drop after the first week, you (or your Program/School) will be responsible for the full course fee.
Required Placement Test: You will be given a brief placement test meant to gauge your current abilities and to assist us in placing you in an appropriate course. The placement test, including a video clip and a brief digital recording component, will ideally take no longer than 20 minutes of your time.
If you have any questions, please contact: email@example.com
Course Numbers: MD 1400
This course will cover fundamentals of inflammation from a broad biological perspective. Both physiological and pathological aspects of inflammation will be the focus of this course. This course is primarily for pre-clerkship medical students.
Course Numbers: MD 1350 (IBIO 532)
- Physicians as Leaders
Student Class Level: Open to all YSM students
Maximum students/enrollment period: 20 students
Scheduling Restrictions: Fall semester only
This 12-week elective will expose students to a range of leadership skills and leadership roles within the Yale medical community. Students will gain more insight into how they function as both a member and a leader of a team, and will receive constructive feedback on how to maximize their leadership ability. The goal of this elective is to give interested students an environment in which to discuss effective leadership, ethical and collaborative decision-making, and teamwork. Additionally, students will have substantive discussion with students of other years, campus leaders and faculty members with the goal of building lasting connections within our community.
Course Learning Objectives:
1. By the end of this elective, students should be able to describe how they function as both a member and a leader of a team.
2. By the end of this elective, students should be able to Identify how leaders in the field of healthcare apply skills and frameworks in real life situations.
3. By the end of this elective, students should be able to apply a range of leadership skills within a healthcare setting.
- Public Speaking for Future Physicians
The goal for this course is to provide students with an opportunity to develop and hone their public speaking skills. YSM’s mission statement states it aims to train future physician leaders. The current curriculum provides opportunities to develop leadership in some domains, but public speaking as a leadership skill is not formally addressed. As future physicians, students will have to speak effectively to get through to patients, communicate their ideas to colleagues and the medical community, and inform the general public. Science and data cannot speak for themselves. As today’s scientific communication crisis has shown, failure to communicate effectively can result to public harm when the public and the scientific community hold divergent views (example: belief that vaccines cause autism). Therefore, it is vital for students to get the opportunity to develop these skills.
This course is intended for 6-8 students. It will meet weekly from 7-8:30 PM for 8 weeks from mid-September to early December. Each session will focus on a specific theme, ranging from delivery (volume, energy, hand gestures), to impromptu speaking (how to deal with unexpected questions and challenging situation), to content (speaking frameworks, how to make ideas “stickier” and easier to understand).
Weekly preparation for students will include brief reading and small assignments involving reflections on their previous speaking performances. The value in the course comes from the numerous opportunities to speak and receive feedback. The vast majority of each session will consist of speaking activities. Each student will deliver and receive feedback on at least two formal speeches each class, one of which will be recorded, on top of warm-up exercises taken from improve and acting. The final class will be a speech competition, where students will deliver prepared 5-minute speeches and vote on a winner.
The objectives of the Education Elective are:
1. Identify at least 5 foundational skills of speech delivery, structure, and improvisational techniques
2. Demonstrate proficiency in speaking delivery (tone and body language)
3. Demonstrate proficiency with using at least 3 speaking frameworks in front of an audience
4. Demonstrate proficiency in improvisational techniques during in-class exercises
5. Write and deliver a 5-minute speech that synthesizes the foundational skills of public speaking
Length of Rotation: 8 weeks (maximum-8 students)
Scheduling Restriction(s): Only offered in the fall
Student’s Class Level: 1st, 2nd, 4th & 5th year
Accept Visiting Students: No
- Spanish for Health Care Professionals
Spanish for Health Care Professionals is a hybrid course offered in Fall and Spring by the Yale Center for Language Study. This hybrid course will meet two times a week: one time in a traditional classroom on campus (face-to-face) and another time online. All students in this course will be required to have a laptop, a headset, and access to the high speed Internet to participate in the online component of the class. During the online meetings, the students will be expected to be in a quiet space where they will be able to participate in online oral discussions. The course site is located in Canvas and the online meetings will use the online conference tool Big Blue Button in Canvas. The course fee is $140 for students enrolled in a participating Yale Department or Program. The course fee for students not enrolled at Yale is $175, payable to the Yale University prior the start of the first class. You will be refunded the course fee if you drop within the first week (not later than 5:00pm of the first Friday). Should you drop after the first week, you (or your Program/School) will be responsible for the full course fee.
Required Placement Test: You will be given a brief placement test meant to gauge your current abilities and to assist us in placing you in an appropriate course. The placement test, including a video clip and a brief digital recording component, will ideally take no longer than 20 minutes of your time
If you have any questions, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Course Numbers: MD 1375
- Uncertainty in Medicine: Critical Thinking and Decision Making Elective
The goal for this course is to recognize that while much of medical education is traditionally centered on accrual of information for rapid recall, the healthcare profession is riddled with uncertainty and incomplete information. Healthcare providers are faced with multi-dimensional and multi-disciplinary problems whose solutions require a combination of rigor, creativity and collaboration. While our current approach to medical education is only reinforced by emphasis on short-answer standardized tests as metrics of aptitude, this course aims to combat that emphasis and prepare students for the complexities of the medical field by focusing on critical thinking and problem-solving skills in a case-based collaborative environment.
The seminar is intended for 16-20 students. It will meet weekly at noon for 6-8 weeks from mid-June to early August. Preparation outside of class time will also be required. We will use case-based exercises to analyze topics that have contemporary relevance to be medicine, e.g. development of screening programs for cancer or reporting and reduction of medical error.
These exercises will utilize collaborative approach aimed at developing several distinct skills: defining the scope of a complex problem; reducing a problem into definable parts; examining each part from multiple angles; prioritizing the parts and their potential solutions; and committing to an actionable solution while acknowledging unaddressed complexities and unknowns.
Course Numbers: MD 1325
- Seminar in Healer's Art
The Healer’s Art is an innovative discovery model course in values clarification and professionalism for first- through fourth-year medical students now offered annually at 90+ U.S. medical schools as well as medical schools around the world. Designed in 1991 by Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D. and offered at Yale School of Medicine since 1999, the course offers a safe learning environment for a personal in-depth exploration of the time-honored values of service, healing relationship, reverence for life and compassionate care.
The Healer’s Art course utilizes principles of adult education, contemplative studies, humanistic and transpersonal psychology, cognitive psychology, formation education, creative arts and storytelling to present and explore human dimensions of medicine rarely discussed in medical training. Topics covered include deep listening, presence, acceptance, loss, grief, healing, relationship, encounters with awe and mystery and self-care practices. The curriculum enables students to uncover and strengthen the altruistic values, sense of calling and intention to serve that have led them to medicine, creating a firm foundation for meeting the challenging demands of contemporary medical training and practice.
In a rigorous standardized course evaluation, the thousands of students nationwide and internationally who take the course every year report that it fills a gap in their existing curriculum and enables them to make the practice of medicine uniquely their own.
Faculty are often as profoundly affected by the course as the students, reporting a renewal of their enthusiasm for teaching and their love of medicine. Students and faculty participate together in a discovery model that transcends the divisiveness of expertise to explore service as a way of life. The process-based curriculum takes a highly innovative, interactive, contemplative and didactic approach to enabling students to uncover and recognize the personal and universal meaning in the daily work of medicine.
The Healer’s Art Course seeks to:
• Provide support for first- and second-year medical students in recognizing, valuing, enhancing and preserving the human dimension of health care.
• Enable students and faculty to experience a collegial relationship that is nonjudgmental, noncompetitive and “harmless,” and to enable students and faculty to form a harmless relationship that offers all a unique professional support system and healing community.
• Recognize the need for self-care in order to provide good patient care and avoid burnout.
• Recognize grief as a self-care strategy for physicians, and identify strategies and tools of grieving.
• Recognize that there are losses that cannot be fixed.
• Recognize the presence of mystery and awe in the practice of medicine.
• Develop greater comfort in discussing mystery, awe and death with peers.
• Formulate a personal commitment to medicine and make that commitment visible among peers.
• Legitimize openness and dialogue with colleagues and patients in the areas of service, mission and calling.
• Recognize that who they are is as important to their patients as what they know.
The Healer’s Art Course will furthermore provide an opportunity for academic and community physicians to:
• Consolidate at greater depth their understanding of a new paradigm of medical education.
• Experience teaching from this new perspective.
• Gain skill in small group participatory leadership.
• Gain skill in the dissemination of innovative ideas.
• Experience sharing the values of the Hippocratic Oath: compassion, service, harmlessness, reverence for life and covenant, with those at various levels of training.
- Seminar in Medical (Mal)Practices Under the Nazi Regime
- The main goals of this seminar are to provide information about the activities of medical professionals during the Third Reich, to promote discussion of the history of the profession the students are entering, to foster conversation about key ethical challenges, and to spur contemplation of how this history connects to the present. Although the events under consideration took place about 80 years ago, echoes of the history remain (e.g., the principle of informed consent), and certain issues emerging from this period are still prompting vigorous debate (e.g., the ethics of utilizing data collected during criminal experiments). Most discussions of this period in medical history focus on the deeds of medical practitioners and scientists affiliated with the German regime, but this seminar also examines the behavior of Jewish doctors who utilized their medical training towards a variety of ends in ghettos and concentration camps. As a result, central themes include power dynamics and moral complexity.
The seminar is intended for 12-15 students. It will meet one time per week over a four-week period. Each class meeting will run approximately 90 minutes and will be split into two halves with a short break in the middle. Class time will be a combination of lecture, discussion, and primary source analysis (incl. watching survivor video testimonies). Preparation for each meeting will require one to two hours of work consisting of reading, watching testimony, and writing responses. No prior knowledge of German or Holocaust history is required.
Class will run:
4 weeks 5/20/19 to 6/14/19 block.
Seminar will meet on (4) Wednesdays from 5:00 – 6:30pm.
*short break after 40 minutes
Director of Electives
Jessica Illuzzi, MD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences. She also serves as the Director of Medical Studies in Obstetrics and Gynecology.