Podiatric Medicine Course Descriptions



PM 701/PM 710 Human Anatomy I & II                                                     

These courses, offered over two semesters, provide an opportunity for students to learn human gross and developmental anatomy.  The human body will be the key source of information, and dissection and observation of the gross structure of the human cadaver will be an important activity.  Lectures on the development of the various body systems will be closely correlated with the gross dissection of these systems (see Human Anatomy below) allowing students to gain an understanding of common congenital anomalies and how the adult form develops.

Lectures, conferences, demonstrations and textbook assignments will be used to present anatomical information that has both practical and clinical importance and to supplement and reinforce the knowledge gained through dissection.  The study of the human body is approached by regions and includes the upper extremity, thorax, abdomen, pelvis-perineum, back, head and neck.  Course content emphasizes the relationship of structures to one another, the importance of these relationships for normal function, and their clinical relevance. 


PM 703 Medical Genetics                                                                

This one unit course will emphasize medical genetics and genetic diseases.  Gene expression influences all aspects of a person’s health.   As our understanding of the human genome increases, the use of genetic information for diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases is becoming an important tool in clinical medicine. 

The topics to be covered in the one unit course include:  genome organization and gene regulation, genetic variation, population genetics and inheritance, cytogenetic and molecular genetics, biochemical genetics and cancer genetics and specific genetic diseases that relate to each of these topics.


PM 705/PM 711 Biochemistry I & II                                                

A two course sequence, Biochemistry encompasses the general principles of human biochemistry.  Focusing on the chemical process which occurs in all living systems, biochemistry provides the necessary biochemical knowledge for those in the medical profession.  The course adopts a “whole-body” approach to the study of modern biochemistry and takes into account the rapidly expanding corpus of knowledge in this area.

Emphasis is on the normal metabolic activities of living cells and their relation to selected disease states.  An introduction to several biochemical techniques (experimental and practical) employed in the diagnosis and treatment of disease is provided.  Upon completion of the course, students are expected to apply biochemical principles to describe and treat metabolic disorders based on clinical findings.


PM 706 Histology                                                                               

Histology includes lectures, small group work, and case studies.  The course presents normal histology and correlates physiological function with cellular structure and tissue organization.  Basic elements of cell biology and systems physiology are correlated with the microscopic and ultra-structural anatomy of specific cells, tissues and organs.

Ultimately, histology prepares the student to apply knowledge of normal structure to disease processes and pathological conditions that are either structure or function and to understand the sub-cellular structures involved in pharmacological processes.  Lectures and small group work use diagrams and micrographs of sectioned material of healthy normal cells, tissues, and organs of the body.  Functional aspects of the structures are stressed in lecture.  Small group work emphasis is on identification of sectioned material at the light microscope level, with some incorporation of specialized cellular components at the ultra-structural level.  This course enables students to visualize normal microscopic structure and function when confronted with pathological conditions. 


PM 709 Lower Extremity Anatomy I                                                           

This course presents detailed osteology and arthrology of the lower extremity, involving both lecture and laboratory sessions.  Lecture material is supplemented with learner centered activities, including case method teaching and simulation.  The laboratory portion emphasizes detailed examination of osteological features of the lower limb including cross-sections and radiographs.  Upon successful completion of Lower Extremity Anatomy I, the student is prepared to advance to Lower Extremity Anatomy II. 


PM 722 Lower Extremity Anatomy II                                                          

Continuing where Lower Extremity Anatomy I ends, this course presents the soft tissue anatomy (myology, neurology, and angiology) of the lower extremity, involving both lecture and laboratory sessions.  Lecture material is supplemented with learner centered activities, including case method teaching and simulation.  The laboratory portion emphasizes detailed donor body dissection, but also includes demonstration of prosected specimens, three-dimensional models, radiographs, cross-sections, and other special preparations of the lower limb.

A small number of students are assigned to each cadaver so that each student can gain experience in the use of instruments and in dissection technique.  Upon successful completion of Lower Extremity Anatomy II, the student is prepared to advance to studies in podiatric medicine and surgery, equipped with the necessary morphological knowledge of the lower limb. Prerequisite:  PM 709


PM 707 Physiology                                                                            

Present day podiatric medical practice depends on a broad knowledge of physiological systems and mechanisms.  The physiology course provides a solid foundation in human physiology in preparation for subsequent clinical training and prepares students for assessing pathophysiology as it arises in podiatric medicine.

Basic physiological concepts such as homeostasis, membrane transport and membrane potential are addressed and these concepts are applied to each of the major physiological systems.  The physiology course combines several approaches to explore physiology, including power point lecture presentations and animations of physiological mechanisms.


PM 714/PM 717 Medical Microbiology and Immunology                 

Medical Microbiology and Immunology is the study of host-parasite relationships, with particular emphasis on humans as the host, and on the parasites that cause infections and diseases in humans.  These two second year summer semester courses are divided into six general subject areas:  general bacteriology, medical mycology, medical virology, medical parasitology, and immunology.

Students are required to perform laboratory exercises as part of the Medical Microbiology course.  The laboratory exercises emphasize basic laboratory techniques used for the isolation and identification of the most common bacteria and fungi encountered in podiatric practice.  After completion of these two courses, the student will be able to identify the normal microbial flora of the human body and to recognize true pathogens, opportunistic pathogens, and non-pathogens.  The student will also be able to identify the different immune processes used by healthy humans to prevent infections by pathogens. 


PM 715/PM 718 Pathology I & II                                                      

Pathology is the study of the structural and functional changes in tissues and organs of the body as a result of disease.  This two-semester lecture course begins with the fundamental concepts of pathology including topics such as reaction to injury, regeneration, repair mechanisms, inflammation and neoplasia.

Following this introductory material, a systematic approach to each organ system is adopted that covers both neoplastic and non-neoplastic disorders.  Special emphasis is given to the diseases of the musculoskeletal system.  This basis is then expanded to investigation of diseases of each organ system with emphasis on pathology of the lower leg and foot.


PM 716/PM 719 Pharmacology I & II                                                           

Pharmacology I is the study of drugs, how they work, and how they affect the human body.  The course is taught over two semesters and is presented as a systematic investigation into pharmacological agents used in medicine based on drug group classification.  During the summer semester, the course centers on a variety of basic pharmacological principles, as well as the study of certain therapeutic drug classes.

Basic principles include:  drug agonism and antagonism, drug-receptor bonds, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.  Topics for the spring semester include antimicrobials, drugs affecting endocrine function, gastrointestinal agents, respiratory agents, botanicals, drugs affecting joint and connective tissue, hematopoetic agents, and neoplastic agents.

For all of the drugs learned, students are expected to recognize the agent’s primary mechanism of action, potential for drug-drug or drug-disease interactions, major side effects, and use in a clinical setting.  Clinical pharmacists who specialize in the topic area on which they lecture primarily teach the course.  Lectures draw from personal experience, and often relay patient vignettes to students, based on actual clinical cases.  This allows students to learn both the pharmacology of the agents as well as how they are used in clinical practice.  Special emphasis is given to those agents, which are widely used in the practice of podiatric medicine.




PM 732/PM 734/PM 738/PM 743 General Medicine I, II, III, & IV            

The didactic medicine curriculum is four semesters, starting with cardiovascular medicine in the fall of the first year, followed by dermatology, neurology and principles of internal medicine.  The medicine curriculum includes physiology, physical diagnosis, emergency medicine and medical ethics.  Upon completion of the general medicine curriculum, students will have a thorough understanding of the diagnosis and management of medical illness.


PM 744 Neuroscience and Clinical Neurology                                 

This medical neuroscience and neurology course is designed to provide a thorough understanding of the human nervous system.  This course will cover topic areas which include neuroanatomy, neurohistology, neurophysiology, neurochemistry, neuroembryology, sensory systems and pathways, motor systems and pathways, clinical identification of specific neurological disorders and diseases, neuroanatomical identification of nervous system lesions, and neurological diseases and their clinical implications.


PM 750 Podiatric Medicine I                                                                        

This introductory podiatric medicine course focuses on the common clinical foot conditions that are treated by practicing podiatric physicians.  The course covers the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of common clinical pathology, including hyperkeratosis, intermetatarsal neuroma, gout, plantar fasciitis, verrucae, onychomycosis, and cold injury.


PM 753 Podiatric Medicine II                                                                       

This course focuses on diabetic wounds and peripheral arterial disease, two conditions that are abundant in any podiatric practice.  Topics covered include wound pathogenesis, diagnosis, classification and management as well as several lectures on the diagnosis and management of peripheral arterial disease. 


PM 752 Introduction to Clinical Medicine                                        

Taught in the spring of the first year, Introduction to Clinical Medicine is designed to help students with the transition from learning in a classroom to learning in a clinical setting.  This course covers introductory techniques in obtaining a patient history, formulating a diagnosis, learning to present patients, and performing fundamental podiatric treatment.  By the end of this course, students should be better prepared to start second year clinical rotations.


PM 751 Radiology I                                                                          

This second year summer semester course introduces students to the principles of radiography, with an emphasis on radiation safety, technique and the material required to pass the California radiological licensing examination (which is typically taken upon completion of your residency).  Radiology I also introduces advanced imaging modalities such as MRI, CT and diagnostic ultrasound.  Upon successful completion of Radiology I, students will be better prepared for Radiology II and for clinical radiology rotations.


PM 754 Radiology II                                                                                   

In this second year spring semester course, students will learn to recognize key radiographic findings and link those findings to diseases that affect the lower extremity.  Upon completing Radiology II, students will be better prepared to interpret foot and ankle radiographs during clinical rotations. 


PM 736/PM 739 Dermatology I & II                                                             

This two-semester course provides an integrated approach to dermatologic diagnosis and therapy.  Particular emphasis is given to history-taking pertinent to the patient with a dermatological problem, techniques of physical examination, and relevant diagnostic laboratory procedures.  The courses are designed to teach an effective biomedical and clinical approach to patients with dermatological disease throughout the body, including the lower extremities.


PM 737 Pediatrics                                                                              

This one-semester third year course introduces students to clinical pediatrics.  The course discusses issues of the history and physical relevant to the pediatric patient and includes lectures on child development, pediatric orthopedics, pediatric infections and pediatric oncology. 


PM 755 Jurisprudence                                                                                  

This third year course is taught by the attorney for the California Podiatric Medical Association.  The course exposes students to the legal aspects of the podiatric medical profession.


PM 758 Public Health                                                                    

This course is dedicated to public health and exposes students to epidemiology and medical statistics.  In addition, research design and interpretation are emphasized. 


PM 770 Biomechanics I                                                                                 

A first year second semester series of lectures and demonstrations designed to provide a basic understanding of the terminology and concepts of mechanical function of the lower extremity as well as normal development and dysfunction of the musculoskeletal system.  An educational model of the foot will be defined creating a standard, which does not exist in nature, but can be used as a reference to quantify function and structure.


PM 771Biomechanics II                                             `                                  

A series of lectures designed to aid students in the application of the concepts taught in Biomechanics I.  Specific foot types, as well as some of the more common pathologies are addressed.  Topics include the pediatric foot, normal growth and pathology.  The biomechanical evaluation, gait analysis and orthotic principles, construction and design will be included to correlate with the skills workshop.  Emphasis is placed on identifying foot abnormalities, pathologies and dysfunction.


PM 772 Biomechanics III                                                                               

A series of lectures designed to aid third-year students in applying the concepts and principles of lower extremity biomechanics to treatment modalities.  Specific foot types and pathologies that were identified in Biomechanics I and II will be reviewed with emphasis on treatment.  Concepts related to the mechanism of pathology will be presented specifically relating to the podiatric patient, gait disturbances, orthotic prescription writing and shoe therapy.


PM 790 Podiatric Surgery I                                                              

Podiatric Surgery I is an introductory course offered in the fall semester of the second year, which provides lectures on surgical principles, fixation techniques, evaluation and surgical management of infections, nail pathology and soft tissue lesions, laboratories, suturing and other skills.  Upon completion of the course the student will be able to apply surgical principles in the diagnosis and treatment of infections, nail and soft tissue pathology as well as being familiar with the various types of fixation techniques.


PM 791 Podiatric Surgery II                                                              

This course introduces second year podiatric medical students to the pathomechanics and surgical treatment for digital, lesser metatarsal, and 1st ray pathology.  Students also receive workshops on fabrication and use of preoperative templates.  At the conclusion of this course, students will have a basic understanding of how to evaluate and manage common forefoot pathologies.


PM 792 Pod Surgery III                                                                     

Building upon the surgical principles presented in Podiatric Surgery I and II, this advanced surgery course instructs students in reconstructive surgical techniques and procedures of the rearfoot and ankle.  The course includes discussion of the underlying causes of rearfoot and the ankle pathology as well as the surgical approaches used to manage these conditions. 


PM 793 Podiatric Trauma                                                                              

This surgery course instructs students in the medical and surgical management of the patient who has suffered lower extremity trauma.  Students are first instructed on the basic principles of trauma management followed by instruction on applying these principles to specific foot and ankle injuries.  Although the instruction describes both direct and indirect trauma, the emphasis is on indirect trauma, which represents the majority of lower extremity injuries.  The majority of trauma situations of the lower extremity are the result of indirect mechanisms, and it is the understanding of these mechanisms that are tantamount to the successful treatment of these injuries.


The course presentations are in Powerpoint with intraoperative photographic slides that illustrate the actual surgeries and compare the preoperative and postoperative clinical and radiographic appearance of the foot and ankle.  Upon completion of the four podiatric surgery courses, students will have the necessary didactic knowledge to begin their residency training.




PM 756 Second Year Highland Hospital Rotation                            

This one-month second-year rotation provides an opportunity for students to evaluate and treat a variety of patients and pathologies in a busy urban podiatric medicine clinic.  In addition to performing palliative care, students will participate in wound care, trauma, and sports medicine. 


PM 789 Second Year Laguna Honda Hospital Rotation                              

This one-month rotation for second year students meets for 8 hours each week.  At Laguna Honda Hospital, one of the nation’s largest municipally operated nursing facilities, students gain familiarity with the diseases and conditions commonly seen in a geriatric population.  Students learn to diagnose and treat foot problems while improving their foot care skills.


PM 788 Second Year Homeless Clinic Rotation                                           

Second year students participate in this one-month Homeless Clinic rotation, which provides podiatric medical care at several clinics for homeless residents of San Francisco.  This rotation, which is done in collaboration with the City and County of San Francisco, gives students an opportunity to evaluate patients and render podiatric medical services to individuals who do not have access to foot care.  The Homeless Clinics operate two evenings per week.  First year students also have an opportunity to visit these clinics to observe as well as participate in patient care. 


PM 782 Second Year Clinical Skills Rotation                                              

This second year clinical skills rotation is a four week rotation that uses a variety of learning techniques from a multi-disciplinary faculty in a small group setting.  Each week students will learn different clinical skills, which will help solidify fundamental patient evaluation skills.  Students will develop an increased level of awareness of medical ethics, medical errors and communication with patients of different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds.  During the rotation, students will also gain basic expertise in suturing, interpretation of clinical labs, EKGs, and chest films. 


PM 735 Second Year Radiology Rotation                                                     

In this two-month rotation, students spend four hours each week in a small group setting interpreting normal plain film radiographs and normal MRI studies of the foot and ankle under the direct supervision of an attending podiatrist.  Upon completion of this rotation, students will be prepared to begin their third-year radiology rotation (DPM-762)


PM 781 Second Year Simulation Center Rotation                             

The second year Simulation Center Rotation, taught within the Health Sciences Simulation Center (HSSC) facility, is a 4 week course that uses a variety of simulation-based learning techniques in a small group setting.  Topics covered include patient evaluation, medical emergencies, operating room protocol, and interdisciplinary collaboration.  By the end of this rotation students should have increased confidence working in an operating room environment, increased confidence interacting with patients and other health care professionals and should have more confidence when starting their third-year clinical rotations.


PM 733 Second Year Medicine Rotation                                          

This rotation is designed to prepare podiatric medical students for general medicine and emergency medicine clinics.  Students are taught how to perform a complete history and physical.  This rotation takes place in a state of the art physical diagnosis laboratory.  After completion of this rotation, students are able to perform a full history and physical exam and develop a differential diagnosis.


PM 773 Second Year Biomechanics Workshop                                            

A series of seven 8-hour workshops and demonstrations designed to develop necessary skills that will allow students to apply the concepts of lower extremity biomechanics to orthotic therapy.  Students will perform arthrometric examinations, under faculty supervision, as well as participate in gait evaluations.  Students will be required to develop the skills necessary to take an accurate non-weight bearing and semi-weight bearing negative cast.  Included in this course are two sessions at a professional orthotic laboratory where the student will participate in the various stages of production of their own functional orthotic.  Included are workshops on orthotic prescription writing, orthotic evaluation and orthotic troubleshooting.


PM 760/764 Third-Year Highland General Hospital Rotation                            

This three-month third-year rotation provides an advanced opportunity for students to evaluate and treat a variety of patients and pathologies in a busy urban podiatric medicine clinic.  During this rotation, students will also spend two half-days each week in the third-year radiology rotation (PM-762).


PM 762 Third Year Radiology Rotation                                                                  

During this two-month, small-group rotation, students will become more proficient at reading, identifying, and interpreting foot and ankle pathology on plain film radiographs, MRIs, CT scans and diagnostic ultrasound images. 


PM 794 Third Year Biomechanics and Sports Medicine Rotation 

This one-month, third year clinical rotation focuses on treating patients with lower extremity pathology that is mechanical in origin.  The overall goal is to improve student proficiency in gait analysis, musculoskeletal evaluation of the foot and ankle and treatment using orthotic devices.  In addition this rotation is designed to capture the excitement and challenges presented in treating sports medicine related injuries.  Emphasis will be placed on clinical recognition, detection, and conservative treatment so that the athlete can safely return to their sport as soon as possible.  Upon completion of this rotation, students will be better prepared for their 4th year clerkships.


PM 759 Third Year Diabetic Wound Care Rotation                                      

Presented as a two-month rotation in the third year, students will see patients in several wound care clinical settings.  Students learn and use the most appropriate and up-to-date evaluation and treatment modalities for a patient population at high risk for amputation.  There is an emphasis on student initiative in increasing their knowledge base by outside readings, journal club, and student representation.


PM 741 Third Year Medicine Rotation                                                         

The third year Medicine rotation, taught within the Health Sciences Simulation Center (HSSC) facility, is a 4 week course (16 sessions) that uses a variety of simulation-based learning techniques in a small group setting.  Each session covers different clinical scenarios, which use simulated patients (both actors and mannequins) followed by small-group debriefing.  Task simulators are also used to gain proficiency in fundamental medical procedures.  


PM 761 Third Year Private Office Clerkship                                     

During this one-month assignment students experience the full scope of a private office, i.e. palliation, biomechanics, office surgery and hospital surgery.  Students also gain an understanding of patient flow in a private office and the importance of good relationships between a private practitioner and patients.  The private office clerkship helps students appreciate the complexities of the business operations of a private practice. 


PM 796 Third Year Surgery Rotation                                                                        

This three month 3rd year student rotation is held at St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco.  During the 3 months students function in the operating room scrubbing on podiatric, vascular and general surgery cases as well as working with residents and faculty in the management of patients on an outpatient and inpatient basis.  When not in the operating room, the students will function in a private office setting learning how to properly evaluate patients preoperatively and postoperatively as well as providing regular podiatric care. 


PM 799                                                                                   

During the fourth year, students have the opportunity to base their clinical training at one of several affiliated medical centers.  These include:  CSPM Core, VA Albuquerque Medical Center, Arizona Maricopa Medical Center, VA Salt Lake City Utah Medical Center, VA Tacoma/Madigan Army Hospital, VA Puget Sound Medical Center, and Long Beach Memorial Medical Center.  Students receive 4 units of credit for each month they complete a rotation or clerkship assignment.  A minimum of 48 units of credit is required to complete the twelve-month fourth year curriculum.




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