May 27, 2024  
2023-2024 Academic Catalog 
    
2023-2024 Academic Catalog

M.D. Program Academic Distinctions and Concurrent Degree Programs



Dual M.D./M.P.H. Degree Program

The concurrent Doctor of Medicine/Master of Public Health (M.D./M.P.H.) is a collaborative program offered by the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) Paul L. Foster School of Medicine (PLFSOM) and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health (UTSPH). The M.D./M.P.H. program will prepare students to integrate medical and public health skills in their professional lives as practitioners, administrators, and researchers. The dual degree occurs concurrently with enrollment in the MD program and prepares students to address community, regional, and population-specific public health issues.

Curriculum:

Shared credit between the two institutions for selected coursework makes it possible for students to complete both degrees simultaneously within the four years of medical school, while still being able to customize the M.P.H. program to individualized interests and educational goals. Student interests are varied including exploring behavioral health, health policy, and global health issues, or deepening skills in epidemiology or health care administration. The PLFSOM Society, Community, and the Individual course complements the M.P.H. curriculum and supports requirements related to the UTSPH practicum requirement.

Students are guided throughout the program by faculty from the two participating schools. M.P.H. coursework begins the summer before medical school and continues in the summer between first and second year of medical school and then throughout years three and four. Preliminary core required coursework may be taken online and does not require residence in El Paso at the time of enrollment.

Application deadline for the M.P.H.:

April 1* - Summer or fall admissions - PLFSOM students should apply in early spring once they are matched with PLFSOM to begin course work in the summer before medical school

October 1* - Spring admissions

*Deadlines are subject to change; contact the UTSPH for current deadlines.

GREs are waived for students who have been accepted to medical school. Student must submit separate Letters of Support for the MPH.

Application forms and directions can be found at the following websites:

UTHealth SPH
https://sph.uth.edu/application/

Or see the application directly at the Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS)
https://sophas.org/program-finder/?program=4501

 

For more information, please contact both schools:

TTUHSC El Paso:
E. Lee Rosenthal, Ph.D., M.S., M.P.H., TTUHSC El Paso M.D./M.P.H. Program Coordinator
Lee.Rosenthal@ttuhsc.edu| 915-215-6459
PLFSOM Admissions webpage: M.D./M.P.H. Option
 

UTHealth SPH:
M.D./M.P.H. Program Contacts:


Kristina Mena, Ph.D., M.S.P.H.
El Paso Campus Dean
Kristina.D.Mena@uth.tmc.edu | 915-539-6417


Pedro Garza
Admissions and Academic Advisor, El Paso Campus
Pedro.Garza@uth.tmc.edu | 915-975-8531

M.D. Program Anatomy Distinction

Ricardo Belmares, Ph.D.
Instructor, Department of Medical Education
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso
O: 915-215-5875
ricardo.belmares@ttuhsc.edu

Students with a special interest in advanced instruction in anatomy may apply for the PLFSOM Distinction in Anatomy Program during the 2nd semester of their MS1 year. Students must demonstrate an ability to succeed in the core curriculum as a prerequisite to acceptance into the Distinction in Anatomy Program. Students interested in the elective Distinction in Anatomy Program must fulfill the program’s general and anatomy-specific criteria, seen below, and submit a complete application by April 16th of the MS1 year.

 ELIGIBILITY: All students in good academic standing and with a good record of professionalism are eligible to apply for the Distinction in Anatomy Program. Students who are placed on academic warning or probation, as defined by the PLFSOM Grading, Promotion, and Academic Standing (GPAS) policy, are not eligible for the Distinction in Anatomy Program and must withdraw from the program if enrolled. Outstanding remediation/s and/or other obligations may also be considered by the faculty in determining acceptance into the program.

MS1 Year

ACCEPTANCE PROCESS AND CRITERIA: The application deadline is April 16, 2021 of the MS1 year. Acceptance is determined by a committee consisting of the participating anatomy faculty members, the Chair of the Department of Medical Education, the Associate Dean for Medical Education, and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Acceptance is to be based primarily on the applicant’s general academic records, performance on anatomy summative exam items, record of good professionalism, and an essay explaining their motivation to commit to the program.

CAPACITY: The number of students accepted for the Distinction in Anatomy Program is to be determined each year by the participating anatomy faculty members and the Chair of the Department of Medical Education, with final approval by the Associate Dean for Medical Education.

 As outlined in the following sections, the Distinction in Anatomy Program begins immediately following the end of the MS1 spring semester.

MS1 Summer Break

 The summer dissections for the Distinction in Anatomy program are intended to provide the student with a firm foundation in clinically oriented human gross anatomy. This is a 6-week course that incorporates self-directed learning materials that prepare the student for each day’s lab experience, followed by dissection labs that expose the student to the detailed structure of the human body, and completed by review of the material using organized learning materials after lab. These dissections will potentially be used in general anatomical instruction in the following year.

Labs will begin each morning at 8am in MEB 4135A. There will be a short quiz (do not be late - there are no make-up quizzes), followed by a brief overview of the day’s dissection. After the overview, we will perform the day’s dissection. Labs are scheduled from 8am-noon on most days, although some of the dissections will take time in the afternoon to complete. Practical exams are scheduled for 3pm. Attendance for all dissection sessions is mandatory with only two absences permitted. Students will be required to complete all the dissection assignments.

Lectures and prelab learning modules are online at: anatomy.elpaso.ttuhsc.edu. Students should review the narrated PowerPoint lab overview lectures and the prelab learning modules, and watch the online dissection videos, before coming to labs. The daily quiz questions will be drawn from the online lectures and prelab learning material. Students should use the computers in the gross anatomy lab to review dissection procedures and adhere closely to the instructions in the online Lab Manual when performing dissections. Students must make records of their dissections on the forms provided, including notes and photographs of any pathology, evidence of surgery, and anatomical variation. After lab, students should use the online Dissector Answers to review the material dissected that day, and review any Learning Modules assigned to the lab. The final step in reviewing is to look over the online Review Questions.

Grades will be based on the average of all of the prelab quizzes (25%) and the average of all of the practical exams (75%). Distinction students need to attain a minimum course average of 70% to remain in the program.  Students must take the TTUHSC Anatomy Cumulative Exam (ACE) at the end of the MS1 summer break after the 6 weeks of dissection and must score at or above 75% on the ACE to remain in the program. Remediation opportunities are generally not offered, but may be offered on a case-by-case basis. Students are also required to schedule and take the NBME Anatomy Subject exam within a week of the ACE in order to benchmark their performance against a national measure of competence. Once the MS1 Summer break requirements have been meet the student will be considered as a Candidate of the Distinction in Anatomy Program.

The schedule for the anatomy labs to be completed in the MS1 summer break follows:

 Week 1: May 25-28 (Tuesday start)
Introduction; Superficial Back; Deep Back & Spinal Cord
 Pectoral Region & Breast; Posterior Shoulder, Axilla, & Arm Forearm;
Wrist & Hand
Joints of Back and Upper Limbs
Week 2: June 1 -June 4
 Memorial Day Holiday (Monday)
 Practical Exam 1
Anterior & Medial Thigh; Hip & Posterior Thigh & Leg
Anterior Leg & Foot
 Joints of the Lower Limbs
 Week 3: June 7-11
 Practical Exam 2
Thoracic Wall, Pleura, & Pericardium
Heart Superior Mediastinum & Lungs; Posterior Mediastinum
 Practical Exam 3
 Week 4: June 14-18
Abdominal Wall & Inguinal Region
Peritoneal Cavity & Intestines; Stomach & Spleen
 Duodenum, Pancreas, Liver, & Gallbladder Kidneys & Retroperitoneum
 Practical Exam 4
 Week 5: June 21-25
Pelvic Viscera; Pelvic Muscles & Neurovasculature
Perineum
Practical Exam 5 Anterior Triangle of the Neck; Posterior Triangle & Root of the Neck
Larynx & Pharynx
Week 6: June 28- July 1 (Thursday)
Scalp, Cranial Cavity, & Brain
 Parotid Gland & Face; Infratemporal Fossa & Oral Cavity
 Orbit & Eye; Ear & Nasal Cavity
Practical Exam 6

All students are each required to develop a research project that must be approved by the anatomy faculty. It may also serve as the student’s SARP project if desired. Clinically oriented anatomy research projects are highly recommended and may entail studies of anatomical variations, development and testing of novel anatomical teaching materials, investigations of modifications to surgical procedures or invasive techniques, or the relationship of anatomy to other fields of medicine, such as radiology, anesthesiology, obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine, etc. Other research projects less related to anatomy will be considered on a case-by-case basis and must be approved by the anatomy faculty.

MS2 Year

Students will participate in six MS1 and MS2 anatomy labs as teaching assistants. TA obligations will be shared, and will be coordinated by the supervising anatomy faculty as follows:

Ranking of preferred labs for TA assignments, 1-24, and faculty anatomists will match accordingly to the best of their ability.

Assisting the faculty with the preparation of the gross anatomy materials/specimens, and be prepared to serve as an informed teaching assistant for each assigned lab duty.

Participation of a minimum of 6 labs duties is mandatory.

Attendance at pre-lab meetings for their TA assignments is also mandatory.         

MS3 Year

If necessary, candidates will continue to work on their research project. When the project is completed, the candidate will submit their scholarship for peer-reviewed publication or presentation at a regional or national meeting. Poster or platform presentation at a regional or national conference is the minimum requirement for the research component of the Distinction in Anatomy Program.

MS4 Year

Distinction in Anatomy Program candidates will be required to enroll in and successfully complete an advanced anatomy and/or surgical anatomy elective of at least 2 weeks in length.

If not already completed, candidates will submit their anatomy scholarship for peer-reviewed publication or presentation at a regional or national meeting. A poster presentation at a regional or national conference is the minimum requirement for the research component, however acceptance of a peer-reviewed publication is encouraged.

Distinction

 Upon successful completion of all the above outlined elements of the Distinction in Anatomy Program, with review and verification by the program committee (as described above for the acceptance process), candidates will receive a designation of “Distinction in Anatomy” on their diplomas in addition to a notation on their official transcript indicating completion of the Distinction in Anatomy Program.

Summary of Requirements for Distinction in Anatomy

  • Perform all required dissections with dissection documentation - Summer MS1
  • Attain a minimum average score of 70% for graded components of the dissection experience - Summer MS1
  • Pass the TTUHSC Anatomy Cumulative Exam at 75% and take the NBME Anatomy Subject Exam - End of Summer MS1
  • Serve as Teaching Assistant for 6 anatomy lab assignments for MS1 and MS2 students - MS2
  • Present and/or publish anatomy-related research project findings - MS3 or MS4
  • Complete advanced anatomy and/or surgical anatomy elective of at least 2 weeks in length -MS4.

 

M.D. Program Research Distinction

Michael Mercado, Unit Associate Director
Office of Scholarly Activity and Research Program (SARP)
Phone: 915-215-4975

Purpose:
The purpose of the Distinction in Research and Scholarship (DIRS) program is to recognize Paul L. Foster School of medicine (PLFSOM) students who have demonstrated exceptional engagement and proficiency in scholarship and research while in medical school.

This distinction goes beyond the requirements of the Scholarly Activity and Research Program (SARP), which exposes students to the scholarship process but does not necessarily expect engagement or proficiency in all aspects of the scholarship/research process and published outcomes.

Eligibility Criteria for DIRS award:

  • Must have completed all requirements of the SARP program.
  • Must be in good standing in regard to academics and professionalism, as determined by the Office of Student Affairs.

Application Guidelines:

When applying for the DIRS program, students are required to select a primary project that best exemplifies their overall engagement, proficiency and achievements in scholarship/research. For the purpose of DIRS, the primary project can be a SARP project or any project of the applicant’s choosing, provided it was executed while he/she was in medical school. Students are asked to provide a detailed description of their involvement in each of the following aspects of their primary project:

  • Development of the research/scholarly question or hypothesis
  • Project design
  • Institutional Review Board (IRB) application (if applicable)
  • Data collection, analysis and interpretation
  • Preparation of any manuscripts or presentations at a local, regional or national meeting

Finally, students are encouraged to list and briefly summarize their participation in and accomplishments for any additional projects other than their primary project. Such additional contributions and efforts will be considered by the committee and incorporated into the discussion before casting a final vote.

Note: All projects must be executed while in medical school.

Application Process:
The application will consist of two components: 1) student application and 2) mentor support form.

  1. Students must submit an application documenting the following:
    • Full description of primary* project and listing of any additional projects with their associated scholarly productivity (e.g., peer- reviewed publications; presentations at local, national or regional meetings).

      *Note: Your primary project for DIRS does not have to be your SARP project.
       
    • Detailed description (provided by student) of personal involvement with the primary project for each of the following:
      • Development of research question or hypothesis
      • Project design
      • IRB application (if applicable)
      • Data collection, analysis and interpretation
      • Preparation of manuscripts and presentations (oral and/or poster) at local, regional or national meetings
      • Additional projects can be listed in Section 4 of the application.
      • Letters of support from faculty or other researchers/scholars involved in the project (in addition to mentor’s support form - see below).

        Note: Faculty, researchers and other scholars involved in the project must email their letters of support DIRECTLY to michael.mercado@ttuhsc.edu.
  2. Mentor Support Form
    • The project mentor(s) for each project, primary or other, must submit an overall evaluation of the student along with a description of the student’s involvement in each of the following:
      • Development of research question or hypothesis
      • Project design
      • IRB application (if applicable)
      • Data collection, analysis and interpretation
      • Preparation of manuscripts, presentations (oral and/or poster) at local, regional or national meetings

        Note: Mentors must email their Mentor Support Forms DIRECTLY to michael.mercado@ttuhsc.edu.

DIRS Application Review Process:

  • The completed DIRS application will be reviewed by a faculty committee convened by the SARP program directors. The committee will consist of five faculty members drawn from at least three different departments.
  • Committee members may not be mentors of the DIRS applicants.
  • Each review panel will include at least one M.D. and one Ph.D.-holding faculty member.
  • SARP co-directors will convene the review panel, facilitate review and serve as non-voting ex-officio members.

DIRS Awards
All DIRS applicants will be notified of their application status via email. DIRS awardees will also receive an official congratulatory letter signed by the dean of the PLFSOM.

 

Distinction in Clinical Genetics

Faculty: Houriya Ayoubieh, M.D, FACMG
             Jessica Chacon, PhD
             Jude Abadie, PhD, FAACC, DABMGG, FACMG
             Cynthia Perry, PhD
             Curt Pfarr, PhD

 

Purpose:        

Genetics is rapidly evolving and shaping patient care. Therefore, it is paramount that clinicians understand cutting-edge genetic applications. The Distinction in Clinical Genetics (DCG) Program offers a deep-dive into the molecular mechanisms of diseases, as well as, genomic concepts and technologies that are transforming the practice of medicine.

The goal of this program is to increase a student’s exposure to and competency with clinical genetics, whether the student will specialize in genetics and genomics specifically or are choosing another specialty. Since genetics is becoming integrated in all fields of medicine, this program should be of wide intertest to students. Students in good academic standing can apply for the DCG Program during the 1st semester of their MS1 year. Students must submit a complete application by January 1st of their MS1 year.

The goal of the DCG program is to provide a foundational overview of medical genetics. This is designed as part of an online curriculum for medical students, and will enable students to present in a Journal Club, participate in peer teaching for genetics topics, and experience genetics in a clinical setting.

Eligibility Criteria:

All students in good academic standing and with a good record of professionalism are eligible to apply. Students are required to submit a letter of purpose. Students who fail any remediation, or semester, of any required course may not be eligible for the distinction designation and may be asked to withdraw if enrolled. Students who have recorded issues with professionalism, may be asked to withdraw from the program if enrolled.

Acceptance Process and Criteria:

The application deadline is January 1st of the MS1 year. Acceptance is competitive and determined by a committee consisting of the participating faculty members, the Chair of the Department of Medical Education, the Associate Dean for Medical Education, and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Acceptance is to be based primarily on the applicant’s general academic record and an essay explaining the applicant’s motivation and professional goals as related to the DCG Program.

Capacity:

The number of students accepted is to be determined each year by the participating faculty members, the Chair of the Department of Medical Education, the Associate Dean for Medical Education, and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs.

Summary of the DCG Program

  • MS1/MS2:  The course incorporates self-directed learning materials that prepare the student to complete DCG online assignments and presentations, followed by a discussion with the participating faculty and student peers. During the academic year, students are required to research and submit an online assignment and present about the genetics of a disease related to their current Scientific Principles of Medicine (SPM) unit, every 4-5 weeks, starting in January of their MS1 year through the end of MS2 year.
  • Summer MS1: Students will research and present about clinical genetic testing techniques, emerging genomic methods and one research article for the Journal Club. They will also participate in molecular pathology workshop.
  • Summer MS1/ MS2/MS3: Identify a genomics-related scholarly project and develop peer teaching activities such as genomics related learning modules and or peer teaching review sessions.
  • MS3/ MS4: Present and/or publish genomics-related research project findings/ learning modules.
  • MS4: Participate in a clinical genetics elective at an eligible external institution.

MS1, Summer Break and MS2

This course incorporates self-directed learning materials that prepare the student to complete DCG online assignments and presentations, followed by a discussion with the participating faculty and student peers. During the academic year, students are required to research and submit an online assignment and present about the genomics of a disease related to their current Scientific Principles of Medicine (SPM) unit, starting every 4-5 weeks in January of their MS1 year through the end of MS2 year. The number of presentations will range from 3-6 per academic year and will be determined each year by the participating faculty members.  

Students are given at least 4 weeks to complete their online assignments and prepare their presentations. During the academic year, online assignments and presentations are due within one week of the student’s summative exam. Students will need to coordinate with the participating faculty to remediate missed or incomplete online assignments and presentations.

In the summer, students will research and present about clinical genetic testing techniques, emerging genomic methods and one research article for Journal Club. They will also participate in two activities in molecular pathology workshop.

Participating students are each required to develop a genomics-based scholarly project, which may also serve as the student’s SARP project if desired. Genomic-based projects may entail: research in disparities to genetics access, education research for genomics learning modules, etc. Students are required to develop peer teaching activities for medical students such as learning modules and or peer teaching review sessions. Students may also elect to pursue their scholarly projects at eligible external institutions that offer genomics laboratory and/or other molecular experiences.

Grades will be fail/pass/honors based on the average of all of the online assignments, presentations and Journal Club presentation. Students need to pass all the activities to remain in the program. Students will also complete pre- and post-evaluation forms for the components of the program.

MS3 Year

Students will participate in peer teaching activities. Students will continue to work on their genomics based research project. When the project is completed, the student will submit their genomics scholarship for peer-reviewed publication or presentation at a regional or national meeting. Poster or platform presentation at a local or national conference is the minimum requirement for the research component of the DCG Program.

MS4 Year

Students will be required to enroll in and successfully complete a genetics and genomics elective at least 2 weeks in length at any eligible institution that offers a similar genetics clinical elective. If not already completed, students will submit their genomics scholarship for peer-reviewed publication or presentation at a regional or national meeting. Acceptance of the journal submission is not required; however, a poster presentation at a local or national conference is the minimum requirement for the scholarship component.

 

Format Topics Objectives: Students will be able to

Year1/Year 2

Online assignment /presentation

 
  • Students will choose and present Genetic conditions based on SPM units.
  • Students will also create learning modules for at least two conditions.
 
  • Identify primary literature and a short set of learning objectives with regards to the genetic condition
  • Using a patient scenario, provide a brief explanation of the disease and its etiology, gene implicated in the pathogenesis and its function, molecular mechanism of the disease, phenotype, inheritance risk, diagnosis, management, new and developing therapies.
MS1 Summer Molecular diagnostics workshops
  • Microsatellite instability
  • Exome analysis
  • Molecular pathology Laboratory experience
  • Discussion of clinical presentations, treatments, and prognosis for disorders identified through molecular diagnostics
    • Review molecular concepts that pertain to inherited cancer syndromes
    • Diagnose Lynch syndrome through interpreting lab data from cases using microsatellite instability
    • Understand the use of next generation sequencing for tumor and normal tissue for cancer evaluations 
    • Complete Area9+ NEJM Learning Lab exercise to enhance understanding of inherited cancer syndromes
    • Practice interpreting electrophenograms in conjunction with other genetic tests to describe microsatellite instability to diagnose gastrointestinal cancers, to include Lynch syndrome
    • Practice interpreting NGS results to write a clinical report for trio tumor analysis (ethical considerations will also be discussed)

 

  • Practice working through interpretation
    • Understand cytogenetic and microarray nomenclature to describe chromosome alterations
    • Understand the use of next generation sequencing for trio exomes
    • Practice interpreting microarray and/or cytogenetic results in the context of a clinical presentation
    • Practice interpreting NGS results to write a clinical report for trio testing (ethical considerations will also be discussed)
    • Classifying molar pregnancies in the context of molecular diagnosis results and interpretation of practice cases
    • Practice interpreting electrophenograms to diagnose molar pregnancies
 
MS1 Summer Online assignment/ presentation Clinical Genetic Testing
  • Recognize tools of molecular genetics used clinically, including karyotype, microarray, gene panels, methylation analysis, trinucleotide repeats and whole exome/genome sequencing
  • Describe the methodology and limitations of each technique
  • Discuss how to counsel a patient about those genetic tests and possible results
 

MS1 Summer

Online assignment/ presentation

 
Emerging Genomic Analysis
  • Describe genomic essays that are currently used for research and their potential applications in clinical medicine. E.g. polygenic risk scores, RNA sequencing, etc.

MS1 Summer

Online assignment/ presentation

Journal Club
  • Present a Genomics related research article

Year 2/ Year 3

Peer teaching

Students ‘choice (examples: synchronous/ asynchronous lecture or skill/Genetics SPM review session)
  • Identify primary literature and a short set of learning objectives for the teaching session
  • Using patient scenarios, provide a brief explanation of the condition and its etiology, gene implicated in the pathogenesis and its function, molecular mechanism of the disease, phenotype, inheritance risk, diagnosis, and management.
  • Use team based activities to engage the audience

Year 1-4

Research project

(At TTUHSC or any other eligible institution after approval from the DCG faculty)

Students’ choice

  • Identify a research mentor
  • Design or participate in a scholarly project related to genomics
  • Present and/or publish genomics-related research project finding

Year 4

Clinical Genetics elective

(At TTUHSC or any other eligible institution after approval from the DCG faculty)

Genetic History
Physical Exam
Family History
Genetic counselling
Management of genetic conditions
  • Recognize and demonstrate how to take a genetic history
  • Identify Dysmorphology exam clues
  • Recognize how to ask sensitive family history questions
  • Practice taking a family history
  • Demonstrate how to draw and analyze a pedigree
  • Provide individuals and families with information on the nature, inheritance, and implications of genetic disorders to help them make informed medical and personal decisions.
  • Demonstrate genetic counseling concepts such as risk assessment and the use of family history and testing to clarify genetic status for family members.
  • Demonstrate how to disclose physical exam observations and a potential genetic diagnosis to the patient

 

Distinction

Upon successful completion of all the above outlined elements of the program, with review and verification by the program committee (as described above for the acceptance process), students will receive either a designation of “Distinction in Clinical Genetics Program” on their diplomas or a notation in their official transcript indicating completion of the DCG Program (to be determined based on TTUHSCEP and TTU System academic policies).

Student resources:

  • Family history review: Bennett RL. Family Health History: The First Genetic Test in Precision Medicine. Med Clin North Am. 2019;103(6):957-966. doi:10.1016/j.mcna.2019.06.002
  • Dysmorphology exam: Dysmorphology. Alexander Youngjoon Kim and Joann Norma Bodurtha. Pediatrics in Review December 2019, 40 (12) 609-618; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1542/pir.2018-0331
  • Direct to Consumer Genetic testing: https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/understanding/dtcgenetictesting/directtoconsumer/
  • To look up specific genetic conditions use:

 https://omim.org/  Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1116/ Gene Reviews