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Nervous System and Behavior

Nervous System and Behavior (NSB) is an eight-week, first-year block that provides foundational knowledge and basic skills necessary to assess nervous system function and participate in the care for diverse patients. It integrates clinical neuroanatomy, anatomy of head and neck structures, neurology, pharmacology, radiology, pathology, development, human behavior, and psychiatry.

The block focuses on disorders and situations that students will likely encounter in their clinical work, regardless of their field of practice: those that are most urgent -- most common -- most often identified or prevented by care providers other than neurologists and psychiatrists. It highlights 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.

NSB uses cases and clinical scenarios as a primary teaching and learning method. Session formats include interactive lectures, flipped classrooms, large and small group case-based discussions, laboratories, independent learning modules and exercises, and simulation. Each is designed to encourage learner participation and direct engagement with the subject matter. Recognizing that individual learning preferences vary, learners are provided with additional supplementary materials, as well as multiple opportunities for formative self-assessment.

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

  1. Identify major CNS and head & neck structures, focusing on their 3D relationships
  2. Apply 3D structural information to the interpretation of clinical imaging and cases
  3. Describe clinically important neural systems: structures, connections, functions, and consequences of dysfunction
  4. Propose probable locations and nature of nervous system lesions based on information from a patient’s recent history and neurologic exam
  5. Discuss features of the major categories of neurologic and psychiatric disorders
  6. Develop a list of alternative diagnoses based on a patient’s history, examination, and interpretation of any clinical test results
  7. State the basis of treatments (pharmacologic and other) for major neurologic and psychiatric disorders
  8. Summarize structural and behavioral nervous system development across the entire lifespan
  9. Discuss patient, family, and community experiences of neurologic and psychiatric disorders, including stigma
  10. Examine the impact of social determinants of health on both the occurrence and outcomes of neurologic and psychiatric disorders
  11. Summarize law and policy issues regarding physician duties and responsibilities such as substance misuse and determination of competence
  12. Provide examples of strategies to enhance student and physician resilience and well-being
  13. Analyze clinical cases involving common neurologic and psychiatric disorders, demonstrating foundation-level problem-solving skills

Summative assessments include two major examinations, weekly quizzes and case assignments, team-based case analyses which use multiple choice, short and long answer question formats.


Updated JUNE 24 2022 | cjb