Digestive diseases are the second most common cause of disability due to illness in the US, and translate to a total economic cost of $50 billion annually. Epidemics such as viral hepatitis and obesity are issues that place a significant burden on health care resources and to the patients themselves. The effects of these epidemics will be seen for decades to come. Additionally, common diagnoses as diverse as GI bleeding, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and infectious diarrhea cause frequent visits to gastroenterologists. This course is intended to train medical students in the fundamentals of the biomedical sciences of gastroenterology. The building blocks taught here are ultimately designed to prepare physicians to handle the complexities of the ever-demanding world of gastroenterology.

The Gastroenterology Course spans for 4 weeks in the second year. This course is designed to focus on the biochemistry, pathophysiology, anatomy, histology and embryology signs and symptoms, diagnostic methods, and treatment modalities of GI, Hepatic and Biliopancreatic diseases and nutrition. The format is intended to introduce new concepts as well as advance prior instruction in an integrative fashion. The learning formats will consist of didactics reinforced by small group sessions (i.e. - Active Learning Groups, TBL/POPS (Patient Oriented Problem Solving), Scholar’s Workshops, Foundations of Medical Practice and Self Directed Learning) on a rotating basis. This instruction will be supplemented with laboratory exercises and Self Directed Learning via texts and internet-based electronic resources.

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

1. Recognize the anatomy, physiology, embryology and histology of the upper GI tract and how this relates to the presentation, diagnosis and treatment of acid-peptic disease states.
2. Classify major types of GI/Hepatic/Pancreatic cancers, hereditary and non-hereditary; explain their pathogenesis including molecular and environmental risk factors.
3. Recognize the anatomy, physiology, embryology and histology of the hepatic, biliary and pancreatic systems and how these relate to the presentation, diagnosis and treatment of disorders in this anatomic area.
4. Describe the specifics of disease processes in the differential diagnosis of viral/non-viral hepatitis and the pathophysiology that leads to cirrhosis and its complications.
5. Understand the anatomy, physiology, embryology and histology of the digestion and absorption of the small and large intestines and how these relate to the presentation, diagnosis and treatment of malabsorption/maldigestion states of the GI tract.
6. Understand the anatomy, physiology and histology of neuroendocrine tumors and syndromes and how this translates to symptoms and treatment of patients.
7. Construct a differential diagnosis of diarrheal disorders, compare and contrast inflammatory and infectious diarrhea, and explore the various pathophysiologic mechanisms and immunogenetics of these disorders.
8. Recognize the physiology, epidemiology, symptoms and treatment associated with upper and lower GI motility and functional disturbances and their impact on patients’ quality of life and the health care system.
9. Recognize the particular gastrointestinal problems and considerations in the pediatric population.
10. Understand the vascular distribution in the GI tract and the pathophysiologic mechanisms that lead to vascular complications of the gastroenterologic system.
11. Recognize the importance of nutritional deficiency and excess and the physical manifestations of such conditions. Understand how such alterations are present in specific disease states.
12. Recognize the medications used to treat GI disorders and their pharmacologic mechanisms.