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INFORMATION FOR

Across the Lifespan

Course Description

Organization

Across the Lifespan aims for medical students to acquire knowledge of human development through all stages of life, from conception to senescence, in a manner that will foster the acquisition of clinical reasoning skills and prepare them to enter the clerkships.

The course is divided into four life stages and integrates relevant sessions from longitudinal courses (anatomy) and threads (cell biology, embryology, genetics, pathology, diagnostic methods, pharmacology and diversity, equity, and inclusion). It starts with the uro-genital anatomy lectures, embryology, and reproduction physiology sessions so that students acquire the basic knowledge necessary to understand the material presented in each of the following life stages.

First life stage: Conception, Pregnancy and Birth. Students learn about the physiology of pregnancy, parturition and post-partum and are introduced to common disorders of this life stage. Second life stage: Child and Adolescent Growth and Development. Students learn the basic processes of growth and development from infancy through adolescence, and how the unfolding of these biological, cognitive, psychological, and social underpinnings inform medical practice. The critical role of the family and the community in achieving optimal outcomes is emphasized.

Third life stage: Reproductive Years and Middle Age. Students are introduced to the most common types of disorders of the uro-genital tract in a chronological fashion (from puberty to menopause/hypogonadism), using a symptom-based approach when appropriate. Some complications of early pregnancy are discussed, illustrating the continuity of events across the life cycle.

Fourth life stage: Aging. Students learn about the physiology of aging and the multiple, often complex, medical, social, economic, and psychological factors that impact cognitive, functional status and quality of life in older adults. The importance of interdisciplinary care is demonstrated.

Pedagogy

The ATL course uses a variety of pedagogical methods to deliver content and ensure that students acquire knowledge while developing their clinical reasoning skills. The course includes interactive lectures, large group sessions with buzz groups, videos, patients, small group workshops, labs, and team-based learning activities. Some sessions involve members of various inter-professional teams. There is new material covered/addressed in each of these sessions.

Assessment

Formative
  • Optional quizzes at the end of each Life Stage
Summative
  • End-of-course, pass/fail qualifier

Learning Objectives

  • Students will acquire knowledge of normal and abnormal human development through all stages of life, from conception to senescence, in a manner that will foster the acquisition of clinical reasoning skills and prepare them to enter clerkships.
  • Learn about the physiology of pregnancy, parturition and post-partum as well as disorders of this period.
  • Learn the basic processes of growth and development from infancy through adolescence, and understand how the unfolding of these biological, cognitive, psychological and social underpinnings inform medical practice. The student will appreciate the critical role of the family and the community in achieving optimal outcomes.
  • Learn about urogenital embryology and anatomy, and normal and abnormal physiology of the adult reproductive system including sexuality and fertility. Students will be introduced to the most common type of inherited, metabolic, inflammatory, infectious and neoplastic disorders of the uro-genital tract using a symptom-based approach when appropriate. Some complications of early pregnancy will be discussed in this section, illustrating the continuity of events across the life cycle.
  • Learn about the biology and epidemiology of aging and the multiple medical, social, economic, and psychological factors that impact cognition, function and quality of life often described as the 5M’s (Mind, Mobility, Medications, Matters most and Multiple comorbidities). Some aspects of interdisciplinary care will be discussed in this section.