The mission, goals and strategic priorities of the San Juan Bautista School of Medicine have been designed to offer an updated, interdisciplinary, and service-oriented academic program leading to the medical doctor (M.D.) degree. The School has an academic structure (Curriculum Committee) that allows for curricular design, revisions, management and implementation of curricular changes, in order to keep up with ongoing trends in medical education. The Office of the President/Dean, working in close collaboration with academic dean, chairs of departments, and faculty, has the responsibility of assuring that the curriculum stays attuned to the principles and values inherent in the School’s mission and in compliance with requirements of accreditation agencies. The curriculum is structured in a coherent and longitudinal sequence, through four years of study, in two phases: two years of Biomedical Sciences and two years of Clinical Sciences.

The two-year Biomedical Sciences program includes two semesters per year, with a minimum of seventeen (17) weeks of courses and approximately one week for remediation. One (1) credit is assigned to a course per each weekly hour of academic activities, and one (1) credit for every two (2) hours of laboratory activities (hands-on or virtual). The semesters extend from August to December and from January to May.

The Clinical Sciences program offers the clerkships throughout the academic year. During the third year, 6 clerkships are scheduled having six (6) to twelve (12) weeks’ duration each. During the fourth year, clerkships have a four (4) weeks’ duration. The electives program is offered during the fourth year and includes four (4) free elective clerkships and three (3) required elective clerkships and one (1 selective, of four (4) weeks each. The Fourth-Year clerkships run continuously from July 1 to April 30 of each academic year.

The SJBSM is committed to attuning the curriculum to current trends in medical education, coordinating and integrating course contents within and among the biomedical sciences and clinical components.
Strengthening the students’ clinical skills, including research methodology, and making students and faculty an integral part of the community the School serves, are important aspects of the School’s mission.

As an integral part of the curriculum, the School has implemented several curricular emphases: Professionalism, Research and Information Literacy, Communication Skills, Development of Clinical Skills, and Community Medicine. These emphases were developed in congruence with the School’s mission and vision, and are integrated throughout the four years of study, to assure that graduates are not only knowledgeable physicians, but also respectful, honest, compassionate, sensitive to community health needs, and up-to-date in their active learning.

The curriculum includes a variety of teaching and learning strategies. Small-group discussions provide opportunities for close interaction between faculty and students. Facilities in which audiovisual and computer-aided technological resources are available enhance students’ opportunities for directed self-learning. Course syllabi, as well as a variety of medical software programs, course materials and other relevant information, are available on-line to students and faculty.

The Clinical Skills Lab has become one of the most useful tools for teaching and evaluating clinical skills competencies. Standardized patient encounters are used to teach and evaluate the following competencies: interviewing and history-taking; performing physical examinations; counseling; formulating a differential diagnosis; and establishing a management plan, among other skills.

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