Core Clerkships

The clinical aspect of the curriculum includes 72-80 weeks of clerkships divided amongst different specialties. Of these clinical clerkship weeks, 48 weeks are clinical clerkships consisting of core rotations leaving 24-32 weeks of electives clerkships based on the students preference and availability of preferred rotation.

All rotations are scheduled on an individual basis with Handa Medical Group. Below is a chart outlining the designated time period for each specialty.

Clerkships Number of Weeks
Internal Medicine 12
Surgery 12
Pediatrics 6
Obstetrics/Gynecology 6
Psychiatry 6
Family Medicine 6
Electives 24-32
Total 72-80

Internal Medicine

  • The core clerkship in internal medicine teaches the students a logical approach to patients and their problems, leading from a presenting or chief complaint, through a comprehensive history and physical examination, to the formulation of a differential diagnosis. While this outline is applicable to all specialties in the clinical years of medical school, Internal Medicine carries the major responsibilities in developing this clinical approach. As such, Internal Medicine forms the cornerstone of study in the clinical terms, regardless of the students' future interests.
  • The twelve weeks of the internal medicine rotation are designed to expose the student to a wide variety of medical problems. The student is expected to elicit and assess information obtained from the patient; observe the appropriate manner in which a competent physical examination is conducted; to draw up a problem; to construct a differential diagnosis list and discuss the order of probability; and to discuss with the attending the appropriate plan of action in terms of diagnostic therapies and patient education. 


  • A surgery clerkship should expose the student to clinical problems requiring surgical intervention to have a better understanding of patient management. Surgical technique is not the main objective of this rotation. Making observations in the operating room is a fundamental part of the rotation.
  • Emphasis is placed on the understanding of the pathophysiology of surgical disease and the management of pre- and post- operative problems. The students are exposed to the patients with shock, bleeding, acute abdomens, fluid and electrolyte disorders, trauma, and other major syndromes encountered in general surgery. In addition to time spent on the general surgical ward and in the operating room, student's experience includes the surgical intensive care unit, the emergency department, outpatient clinics, anesthesiology, urology and orthopedics.


  • The objectives of the rotation in pediatrics is to teach students to:
    • Learn how to elicit a thorough history from patient and/or parent
    • Become familiar with each age-appropriate examination and development assessment
    • Formulate a problem list, including psycho-social, behavioral and medical
    • Communicate effectively with patients and parents
    • Demonstrate an understanding of common pediatric problems.
  • These goals and objectives are in addition to those generally established for the other clinical rotations. Pediatrics emphasizes on history taking and physical examination of new-borns, infants, children, and adolescents. Normal and abnormal growth and development are stressed. Students are involved in the care of inpatients from admission to discharge and, if possible, in the follow-up clinics. Emergency department, well-baby clinic, outpatient departments, and intensive care units provide additional experience.

Obstetrics and Gynecology

  • The goals of the clerkship in Obstetrics and Gynecology are to provide the student with clinical experience in:
    • The management of normal and pathological changes that occur during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and the puerperium
    • The diagnosis and management of Gynecology diseases
    • The principles and practice of family planning
    • Public health aspects related to sexually transmitted disease, cancer detection, and education in human sexuality.
  • The student should be able to take a thorough gynecological history and physical.


  • The rotation in psychiatry teaches the student biological, psychosocial, and social-cultural psychiatric disorders. Students should learn and be able to complete a psychiatric diagnostic work-up. The student will also learn the psychiatric concepts, attitudes and skills that will be useful to all physician-patient relationships. The student should be respecful and sympathetic to any personal issues a patient may present with as well as maintaining patient-physician confidentiality.
  • Experiencing direct and indirect patient contact, the student will be able to understand how to elicit, organize, and perform a full diagnostic psychiatric evaluation inclusive of a comprehensive mental status exam. The student will acquire knowledge of common Psychiatric disorders and their treatments to able to formulate a differential diagnoses, a diagnostic work-up with a plan of management.

Family Medicine

  • The family medicine clerkship includes an in and out patient clinical setting. During this time the student is exposed to patients with many common and occasionally more rare health problems. This clerkship should teach the student to be able to take a complete patient history as well as the proper format to compile an accurately written SOAP note. They should also be able to understand how to correctly write a prescription using the appropriate medical abbreviations.
  • Throughout the clerkship the student should gain knowledge on how to treat and/or prevent commonly occurring health problems including hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, smoking etc. It is important to obtain sufficient patient-physician interaction skills. If the attending physician chooses, each case should be professionally presented to the physician. By the end of the 6 weeks the student should be familiar with how to formulate a differential diagnosis, the most commonly used medications as well as most common tests/labs to be ordered for the patients condition (next step in management).

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