First Year Courses

Foundations in Medicine - Vital Signs

These are 50-minute teaching sessions. Standardized Patient Teaching Associates (SPTAs) act as both instructors and patients, reviewing the techniques of taking temperature, pulse rate, respiration rate and blood pressure. Other components of vital signs will also be discussed. Feedback is provided on both technique and interpersonal skills.

The Vital Signs teaching sessions are a mandatory part of the Foundations in Medicine course.

Foundations in Medicine - Patient Education & Counseling Small Group Tutorial

During this 90-minute session, students work in small groups guided by a trained facilitator.You will gain practice interviewing, counseling and educating a patient, as portrayed by a SP. The focus is on gathering information using open-ended questions and reflective listening, concentrating on issues related to behavior change. Time-outs may be used to discuss information as a group. At the end of the session, the SP may provide a few moments of feedback to the group.

The Patient Education and Counseling Small Group Tutorial is a mandatory part of the Foundations in Medicine course.

Foundations in Medicine - Medical Interviewing

During these 90-minute practice sessions, students are divided into pairs and take turns conducting a full medical interview with a SPTA. The SPTA will enact a different case for each student. Following each interview the SPTA will provide interactive feedback on communication and interpersonal skills. Time-outs and rewinds are allowed to help you hone your skills.

You may wish to review the medical interview outline and MIRS communication checklist included in The Pocket Guide to Clinical Skills prior to these sessions.

Medical Interviewing is a mandatory part of the Foundations in Medicine Course.

Foundations in Medicine/ Clinical Diagnosis - Cardio-physiology Workshop

This workshop includes four stations, each one lasting  one hour. Students will have a cardiovascular exam practice session with a SPTA, a cardiology lecture given by a fourth-year student, a faculty-led session with Harvey cardio-pulmonary simulator, and a hands-on EKG demonstration.

The Cardio-physiology workshop is mandatory, and is a joint presentation of the Foundations in Medicine and Clinical Diagnosis courses.

Foundations in Medicine - Pulmonary Physiology Workshop

These sessions will include 30 minutes of teaching in which a SPTA will act as both instructor and patient, guiding students through the technique of the lung exam. There will be ample time for practicing percussion technique and training your ear to distinguish breath sounds. This will be followed by a brief one-on-one role-play with a SP.

The Pulmonary Physiology Workshop is a mandatory part of the Foundations in Medicine course.

Foundations in Medicine - Breaking Bad News Workshop

Students are divided small groups, and then into pairs for a hybrid simulation in which students will respond to a critical event, and practice breaking bad news.

The Breaking Bad News workshop is a mandatory part of the Foundations in Medicine course.

For Foundations in Medicine questions and scheduling conflicts, please contact:
Course Director, Jessica DeBord, MD, MPH (
In the TAPS office, contact Sheri Sund (