The educational mission of the Department of Medicine engages its faculty in courses throughout the four-year medical school experience. The new integrated curriculum allows departmental faculty to teach didactically and clinically in the preclinical years. The Medicine clerkship in the third year provides students with an intensive 12-week opportunity to refine their diagnostic skills in the inpatient and outpatient venues of Albany Medical Center, Samuel S. Stratton Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital. Under the stewardship of departmental faculty, students are progressively introduced to the concepts of responsibility for patient care, discernment of clinical priorities, critical reading of medical literature, cost-effectiveness in health care delivery, risk-benefit analyses of treatment and to continue discussions of issues in biomedical ethics. Preceptorial conferences encourage students to improve data-gathering skills, to review pathophysiology, to heighten abilities to develop differential diagnoses and to expand understanding of treatment alternatives.
In the fourth year, students may elect a one-month general medicine ward experience (acting internship) in which they assume, in a closely mentored environment, some of the responsibilities and duties of a medical resident. Elective opportunities of one month's duration are also available in each of the medical subspecialties and in general internal medicine. Ambulatory care experiences are emphasized in subspecialty rotations. Senior students are also encouraged to attend the weekly internal medicine subspecialty conferences throughout the year and to participate in weekly Medical Grand Rounds and pathology conferences.
The Department has an expanded research mission, including a Molecular and Cellular Medicine program and a Division of Clinical Pharmacology. In these initiatives, and in a number of subspecialty divisions, students can obtain focused, productive, basic science research experiences. Molecular biology and protein chemistry are emphasized as tools in some rotations to broaden students' understanding of important clinical problems. The subspecialty divisions also offer highly clinical research opportunties to students. These opportunities exist at both Albany Medical Center and the Stratton VA Medical Center.