Advanced Biomedical Sciences (ABS) Requirement

Introduction

The Advanced Biomedical Sciences requirement is designed to give each medical student the opportunity to pursue a personal scholarly experience in biomedical sciences (broadly defined) and to develop fundamental understanding in new areas of biomedical science relevant to clinical medicine.

The research experience gives the student additional experience in understanding the principles of biomedical research. The research opportunities include clinical research, laboratory research, social science, public health projects, and other translational projects. By conducting a small research project, the student gains critical judgment in evaluating research evidence and its application to patient care.

The Advanced Biomedical Sciences course at the end of medical school is the culmination of a longitudinal curriculum designed to give medical students the ability to apply scientific principles and emerging knowledge to clinical practice. They learn, for example, how to use scientific principles and concepts to address contemporary problems of health and disease. They strengthen their ability to gain new knowledge and to evaluate emerging evidence by following the thinking of the faculty giving the presentation.

In these ways, the students acquire new fundamental knowledge that can inform clinical experience and also help them to develop as leaders in their chosen area of medicine. Meeting these requirements also strengthens their attitudes toward biomedical science as it relates to medicine.


Components of the Advanced Biomedical Sciences (ABS) Requirement

In order to graduate, students are required to have completed the Advanced Biomedical Sciences requirement. The ABS requirement encompasses two phases: 1) participating in meaningful ABS research or teaching as part of the ABS Research/Teaching Experience, and 2) learning cutting edge applications of biomedical science to clinical practice in the 4th year ABS Course. All students MUST obtain approval for one of the three options ( Teaching, Tutorial, or Research)by completing and submitting the ABS Requirement Pre-Approval Form. This form should be submitted at least two weeks before the start of your ABS Experience, with the last possible submission date corresponding to the due date of your 4th year Plan of Study form ( typically mid- March of your third year).

1) ABS Teaching/Tutorial/Research Experience: To fulfill the ABS Teaching/Tutorial/Research experience requirement, students must choose one of the options described below. All options satisfy the first phase of the ABS requirement. The 8-week research option (option III) is eligible for an additional 4-weeks credit toward elective requirements. For each other option, the tutor or mentor will develop with the student the specific learning objective(s), knowledge, skills, attitudes, and the form of the final work product.

There are three options for the ABS Research/Teaching Experience:

  1. Teaching: 4 weeks of teaching in the medical school curriculum.

    Involves teaching in any of the following: the Anatomy laboratory course; a PBL classroom; or a Pathology laboratory course, as well as attendance at a series of teaching seminars. In addition, written assignments are required. Pre-approval by Dr. Capello is required. (Note: Further information may be found at http://www.med.cornell.edu/education/curriculum/fourth/electives/electives.html)

  2. Tutorial: 4 weeks of a biomedical science tutorial.

    Tutoring is by a member of the medical college faculty and will follow a format agreed upon by the tutor and student. Students select a subject in which they desire advanced training, and students request permission to be tutored from a faculty member expert in the subject. Tutorials are given for a minimum of 4 consecutive weeks. Tutorials often include extensive readings, discussions, and hands-on practice in clinical or scholarly pursuits germane to the subject matter. A written work product is required at the completion of the tutorial experience. Pre-approval by the Director of the Office of Medical Student Research is required.

  3. Research: 8 weeks or more (at least 8 weeks must be continuous) of biomedical science research in any year, 1 through 4.

    Biomedical research conducted over the course of medical school satisfies the ABS requirement. This includes research done during medical school or during the summer between first and second year. Research must be consecutive, and must be at least 8 weeks in length to qualify. Students who take a year-long fellowship also qualify under this option. Biomedical research is broadly defined and includes hypothesis driven research in clinical medicine, community health, epidemiology, medical ethics and basic molecular science. This option will meet the ABS requirement and may be applied as 4 credits toward the 16 elective credits that are required for graduation. A written work product is required at the completion of the research experience. Pre-approval by the Director of the Office of Medical Student Research is required.

2) ABS Course (Today's Science for Tomorrow's Medicine). In addition to the research, tutorial or teaching options, medical students are required to participate in the ABS Course (Today’s Science for Tomorrow’s Medicine) held for 2 weeks in the spring term of the 4th year. Completion of Option I, II, or III does not exempt the student from the ABS Course. Verification of course completion by Dr. Cunningham-Rundles and Dr. Reidenberg is required.


Exemptions

M.D./Ph.D.'s are exempt from the ABS Requirement (both the ABS course and the ABS research/teaching experience requirement.)

Students who hold a Ph.D. in the biomedical sciences are also exempt from the ABS requirement (both the ABS course and the ABS research/teaching requirement.) If a student holds a Ph.D. in a non-biomedical science area (e.g. Physics, Mathematics, Education, Social Science) the student must fulfill all aspects of the ABS requirement.

All exemptions require the approval of the Director of the Office of Medical Student Research.

 
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