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Gastrointestinal System

Gastrointestinal system is a five week, first-year block that provides fundamental knowledge necessary to assess patients with gastrointestinal issues of the luminal GI tract, pancreas, and liver. This block integrates anatomy, development, histology, and pathology of disease to provide a logical flow upon which to build acumen needed for successful clinical work. This block will focus on the work up and treatment of gastrointestinal diseases with an emphasis on radiology, pathology, and diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopy unique to GI. Nutrition will be a theme woven throughout the block and will address normal vitamin and mineral absorption, deficiencies, popular fad and restrictive diets, and nutrition as a treatment for various diseases.

The GI block focuses on common dysfunction and diseases that students will encounter in their clinical work, regardless of their field of practice. We will focus on those situations that are most common, and those that are most urgent to recognize and treat.

This block will highlight the interplay of biological, social, and system-based factors in health and disease. It includes ethical and socioeconomic considerations, and recognizes the importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

GI block follows a logical step wise journey through the luminal GI tract and non-luminal GI organs from the mouth to the anus. We start with the normal development, anatomy, and function of the organ (such as the esophagus, stomach) as the basis to approach the understanding of disease states. We embark on the study of this organ system from a disease-based perspective and progress to a symptom-based approach giving the students both a solid basis of the pathophysiology of disease states as well as a practical symptom-based approach with closely mirrors the clinical experience.

Session formats include didactic lectures, interactive lectures, flipped classrooms, large and small group case-based discussions, laboratories, independent learning modules and simulation. Each is designed to encourage learner participation and direct engagement with the subject matter. Self-directed learning will be enhanced by a “tier” approach, with the basic required information supplemented by more in-depth detailed learning opportunities to allow students to pursue areas of interest and curiosity.

After completion of the GI block, the learner will be able to:

  1. Understand the basic anatomy and physiology of swallowing and differentiate between oral and pharyngeal dysphagia.
  2. Provide a differential diagnosis for the causes of dysphagia and design an appropriate and logical diagnostic and treatment approach with emphasis on radiology, endoscopy, and motility studies.
  3. Grasp the normal anatomy and physiology of the stomach and small intestine with emphasis on acid / base physiology, gastrointestinal ulcer formation, treatment, and prevention.
  4. Master the normal anatomy and physiology of the small intestine and colon with emphasis on nutrient and fluid absorption and barrier function. Apply this understanding to appreciate and treat various causes of diarrhea and malabsorption.
  5. Propose various causes of GI bleeding and the appropriate investigation and treatment based on history, physical exam, and basic laboratory investigation.
  6. Discuss gastrointestinal cancer from the perspective of genetic risk, contributing socioeconomic factors and environmental exposures. Become fluent in current screening modalities, surveillance approaches, treatment, and prognosis.
  7. Apply basic knowledge of the hepatobiliary system to understand disease presentation and formulate a differential diagnosis and logical diagnostic approach to diseases of the liver and biliary system
  8. Recognize nutritional deficiencies, the causes, and the treatment
  9. Examine the impact of social determinants of health on the diagnosis and treatment of various GI illnesses and understand the barriers to care.
  10. Analyze clinical cases involving common gastrointestinal diseases in small group settings, demonstrating foundation-level problem-solving skills in a collegial setting.
  11. Practice collaborative team analytic approach and problem solving in patient centered SIM sessions involving realistic life scenarios

Course assessments include weekly quizzes and case assignments which use short and long answer question formats. The final examination will use multiple choice.


Updated JUNE 24 2022 | cjb