AISC

Offered: January
Location: HMS - Harvard Medical School (0)
Description: Summary: A revolution in the scientific understanding of the cellular and molecular basis of cancer is transforming the science and art of clinical cancer care. The course will emphasize how the basic science of cancer biology underpins issues such as cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis and choice of therapy. Students will review and deepen their understanding of basic principles in cell biology, immunology, genetics, and pharmacology in the context of cancer biology. Participation in multidisciplinary oncology clinics will serve as a stimulus to identify unanswered questions that students will investigate during the course. Format of classroom-based sessions: Sessions will include CBCL led by course directors, discussion of the research literature, discussion of clinical questions, and seminars by outside speakers. In addition, each student will present a summary of a primary research paper and collaborate with other students to write a short research proposal. Each of these assignments will be based on topics of the students’ choosing and may span the breadth of clinical cancer medicine to basic cancer biology. Format of clinical/field experiences: Students will spend two mornings per week in two different subspecialty oncology clinics. The goal is to use patient encounters to stimulate the generation of questions that explore the boundary of what is known about cancer biology and medicine. Students will keep a log of patient experiences and questions that will be discussed in class. Anticipated schedule: All AISCs are full time courses. Students are expected to devote at least 40 hours per week to scheduled sessions and preparatory work. The course will consist of two half-days in clinic (Tuesday and Thursday mornings) and three half days in the classroom (Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons). Full day sessions will be scheduled during the first Monday and Wednesday of the course, as well as the last Friday of the course.
Offered: February
Location: HMS - Harvard Medical School (0)
Description: Summary: Regenerative biomedicine aims to repair tissues and organs to restore normal function and is likely to become an increasingly important component of clinical medicine in the coming years. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is already in wide clinical use, while other regenerative therapies have entered the clinic more recently or are in clinical trials. The course will explore the role of stem and progenitor cells in tissue homeostasis, how defects in this process can lead to illness, and the role of stem cell therapy in the treatment of disease. The course will challenge students to think critically in the area of stem cell therapy and regenerative biology as it applies to clinical applications in stem cell transplantation, wound repair, and aging among others. Varied clinical experiences ranging from transplant medicine to cardiology will facilitate integration of basic science concepts and stimulate formulation of questions at the scientific frontier which will be explored during the course. Format of classroom-based sessions: Students will learn to critique literature and discuss fundamental principles in regenerative biomedicine in CBCL sessions. Prior to each classroom meeting, students will watch short videos and/or read primary literature in preparation for each topic. In addition, students will have a chance to explore the forefront of regenerative medicine with leading scientists and physicians via seminars and discussions. During the course, students will have a chance to develop and present their own ideas in a field they are interested in, with particular focus on how to communicate complex scientific ideas to listeners without much knowledge of science or medicine. Format of clinical/field experiences: In a change from last year, clinicians will bring patients to the classroom for a case discussion. The patients will represent conditions in which regenerative medicine currently (or in the immediate future) plays a role in treatments. Additionally, there will be two field trips for students to be exposed to how technological advancements in the field develop. Anticipated schedule: All AISCs are full time courses. Students are expected to devote at least 40 hours per week to scheduled sessions and preparatory work. This course will meet for four or five half-days in classroom sessions per week, and students will also have two half-days on field trips.
Offered: January
Location: HMS - Harvard Medical School (0)
Description: Summary: This course examines genetic principles and experimental approaches to address fundamental questions about human variation, health, and disease. Students have clinical opportunities to see how genetic information is used in a wide variety of fields (see clinical experiences). Diagnostic lab experiences are geared to informing students how massively parallel sequencing and DNA arrays are used in forensics, to diagnose disease, or to estimate disease risk for common conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer disease. These clinical and lab experiences are complemented with seminars on state-of-the-art topics including human genetic databases, forensic genetics, polygenic risk scores, cancer genetics, gene therapy, gene editing, and clinical trials. At the conclusion of this AISC, students will understand how genetic technologies are being used to prevent, diagnose, manage, and treat disease, and how genetic principles are applied when counseling patients about genetically-influenced diseases. Format of classroom-based sessions: Class each day begins with a student-led discussion of the previous day’s topic and its assigned scientific paper. This is followed by a case/problem-based introduction to the present day’s topic to set the stage for the state-of-the-art seminar by course faculty or a guest lecturer. After each day’s seminar, students are given a primary research paper to read before the next class. This paper is intended to help solidify knowledge about the seminar topic, teach students how to read and critically analyze the genetic scientific literature, and enhance the students’ ability to share newly acquired knowledge with others. Format of clinical/field experiences: Students attend 1 or 2 outpatient clinics/week in disciplines such as general genetics, cancer genetics, reproductive genetics, developmental disability, cardiovascular genetics, neurodegenerative disease, psychiatric genetics, vascular anomalies, skeletal dysplasia, and newborn screening. Students will also be able to spend time in a diagnostic lab, where they will learn how DNA/RNA sequencing and arrays are performed and interpreted. When possible, student preferences will be taken into account with respect to clinical and laboratory experiences. Students are also asked to attend the Medical and Population Genetics Meeting at the Broad Institute (Thursdays 9:30-11AM) and Genetics Walk Rounds at BWH (Wednesdays 10-11AM). Anticipated schedule: All AISCs are full time courses. Students are expected to devote at least 40 hours per week to scheduled sessions and preparatory work. Classroom sessions are held five afternoons a week; clinical experiences take place Monday, Tuesday and Friday mornings at various hospital sites.
Offered: February
Location: HMS - Harvard Medical School (0)
Description: Summary: The basic science of immunology has resulted in an impressive array of new therapies over the past decade that have dramatically changed clinical outcomes in a wide range of diseases. Using four fundamental concepts as a framework (B cell development and antibody function, antigen processing and presentation, activation and regulation of adaptive immunity, and cell-cell communication), this course will examine the immunologic foundations underpinning the rapid expansion of immune-modulating therapeutics in clinical use. We will illustrate these concepts using specific diseases, including primary immunodeficiency, allergy, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and cancer, as well as through integrated immunology-focused clinical experiences across a range of specialties. Clinical experiences and classroom discussions will enable students to identify and explore questions that could lead to broadening of the repertoire of immune therapies in the future. Format of classroom-based sessions: This course largely comprises case-based collaborative and problem-based learning models, along with short class presentations and group literature discussions. Each class opens with a discussion of "homework" questions designed to provide a foundation for the subsequent class material. Students will be expected to complete substantial preparatory reading, with nearly all of a graduate level immunology textbook (Janeway's Immunobiology 9th ed.) over the four weeks, along with approximately one research article and one review for each in-class session. Format of clinical/field experiences: Clinic sessions will include a mixture of outpatient clinics, visiting clinical laboratory facilities, and inpatient consult experiences. Students will be assigned to one of four sites (BIDMC, BWH, CHB, or MGH) with each site focused on a subset of specific diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatology, allergic diseases, immunodeficiency, and immuno-oncology. Students' preferences will be taken into account in hospital assignments. Anticipated schedule: All AISCs are full time courses. Students are expected to devote at least 40 hours per week to scheduled sessions and preparatory work. This course will meet for four-hour in-class sessions three afternoons per week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday; Tuesday will replace Monday if there is a holiday). Students will be giving presentations on the final two Fridays of the course and attendance on those dates is required. The clinical component, held predominantly on Tuesdays and Thursdays, will include two half-day sessions and a one-hour weekly site meeting. Clinic schedules will not be fixed week to week, requiring flexibility on students' part, in order to prioritize the quality of the clinical experience.
Offered: March
Location: HMS - Harvard Medical School (0)
Description: Summary: Computational approaches to analyzing large data sets and applying the insights derived to clinical decision-making are central to the present and future of biomedicine. This course will enable students to acquire a computational framework and toolkit for addressing this growing analytic challenge. Selected examples from genomics clinical decision-making and from epidemiology informed by "big data" obtained from electronic healthcare data, claims data and even the social web will serve as the basis for exploration of the computational framework. Mentored experiences at medical data science companies and state-of-the-art clinical diagnostics enterprises will enable students to experience the application of and elaborate questions that can be addressed by computational biomedicine. Format of classroom-based sessions: Classroom sessions are generally divided in two parts. The first part will include journal article presentations by students, with an accompanying discussion led by the course directors. The second part of class will be devoted to completing in-class assignments where students will apply and develop their R programming skills to the computational problems that were discussed in class with individual guidance from teaching assistants or directors. Four sessions will be led by outside lecturers. Format of clinical/field experiences: Two mornings per week (working on a data project, mentored by individuals at a health tech company (a pharmaceutical company, Aetna or computing research company). Anticipated schedule: All AISCs are full time courses. Students are expected to devote at least 40 hours per week to scheduled sessions and preparatory work. This course will consist of three half-days per week in classroom sessions (Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings), an additional two 2-hour sessions per week to complete homework assignments using R programming skills (Tuesday and Thursday afternoons), and two half-days per week at a health tech company (Tuesday and Thursday mornings). Effective learning in this course will require that students have prior knowledge in the R programming language. Students missing this background should take the short & effective online course https://www.edx.org/course/data-science-r-basics before March 2020.
Offered: April
Location: HMS - Harvard Medical School (0)
Description: Summary: Despite substantial progress in controlling infectious diseases through therapeutics, vaccines, and other public health measures, they continue to be a source of suffering and death around the world, especially but not only in low-resource settings. Increasing resistance to antibiotics, hospital-associated infections, opportunistic infections associated with immunosuppressive therapies, and emergence of new human pathogens from animal reservoirs are recognized threats. At the same time, our scientific understanding of infectious diseases continues to expand and enhance tools for prevention and interdiction. In addition, the key role of the human microbiome is increasingly appreciated, not only in infectious diseases but also in other aspects of human health such as autoimmunity and obesity. The goal of this course is to equip students with a vision of the challenges, and their possible solutions, in the 21st century. Classroom sessions: Students and instructors meet in the TMEC every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons, 1:00–5:00pm. These afternoon sessions are spent as a full group, exploring recent progress and outstanding questions that relate to different state-of-the-art topics in Microbiology & Infectious Disease. For example, in 2019, the weekly topics were Emerging Issues with Antibiotic Resistance, Novel Approaches to Antibiotic Resistance, Opportunistic Infections; and HIV/AIDS. Subtopics include diagnostics, therapeutics, pathogenesis, vaccines, and other aspects of public health. Learning to formulate and investigate specific questions in a critical manner as well as critical reading of primary papers are points of emphasis throughout the course. Clinical sessions: Each student is assigned to one of four HMS-affiliated hospitals and meets with the respective clinical site director every Tuesday and Thursday morning or afternoon, as arranged by each director. Three to five students are assigned to each clinical site. The clinical sessions are designed to explore the interface between basic science and clinical medicine in the current practice and study of Microbiology & Infectious Disease as relates to individual patients. In addition to case-oriented activities, the clinical sessions will include field trips to clinical diagnostic facilities in each hospital or elsewhere. Anticipated schedule: All AISCs are full time courses. Students are expected to devote at least 40 hours per week to scheduled sessions and preparatory work. The course will consist of two half days in clinic (Tuesdays and Thursdays) and three half days in the classroom (Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons), as detailed above.
Offered: March
Location: HMS - Harvard Medical School (0)
Description: Summary: The human nervous system is one of the great frontiers of modern biology. Current advances in neuroscience have transformed neurology from primarily a diagnostic specialty to one rich with therapeutic options. In this course, discussion topics will include the biophysical basis of neural communication, the etiology and treatment of seizures, pain and peripheral sensory function, the disruption of cognitive function in neurodegenerative, neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disease, the role of functional neuroimaging in understanding brain networks, and the use of neurotechnology including deep brain stimulation to treat neurologic and psychiatric disorders. Clinical experiences will include neurology, as well as radiology, psychiatry, and neurosurgery. At the conclusion of the course, students will have deepened their understanding of basic neurobiology and, we hope, be inspired to contribute to scientific understanding or translate discoveries into novel therapies. Format of classroom-based sessions: Classroom sessions include highly interactive discussions/lectures by experts in the various areas, as well as weekly student-run journal clubs to critically dissect papers in the field, one paper each week. Course directors meet with student presenters in advance of each journal club to analyze the papers in detail. Format of clinical/field experiences: There will be two half-day clinical experiences per week. These will be a mix of group and individual clinic sessions designed to provide exposure to a range of clinical neuroscience. In these sessions, students will be paired with clinician-investigators with successful careers in clinically relevant basic and translational research. The objective is to both learn some clinical neuroscience and to identify critical knowledge gaps in our current clinical practice that will inspire classroom discussion and become the focus of a novel research plan developed for the class final project. Anticipated schedule: All AISCs are full time courses. Students are expected to devote at least 40 hours per week to scheduled sessions and preparatory work. This course holds class Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, and students spend an additional two half-days in clinic per week (individual clinic schedules vary), as well as regular preparatory reading for classroom sessions and detailed reading of weekly journal club papers.
Offered: February
Location: HMS - Harvard Medical School (0)
Description: Summary: Innovations in biomedical engineering are having a significant impact on healthcare. Advances in genomics technologies are transforming diagnostics/therapeutics, including personalized medicine. Prosthetic technologies are giving patients who have lost a limb the opportunity to lead near-normal lives. Robots, swallowed or injected, are changing surgery and diagnostics. Nanomaterials are being used as therapeutics and for new imaging modalities. The course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the entire process from academic discovery to commercial and patient impact with a focus on medical devices and biomedical engineering. Students will interact with faculty who have successfully translated their work to the private sector and will spend time in labs at the Wyss Institute where novel technologies are currently being developed. Students will also meet with investors, visit startup companies to see how technologies are scaled and manufactured, and meet with business development and marketing groups. Student teams will then be tasked with going into the clinic and developing a novel clinical use for a specific technology. Format of classroom-based sessions: This course will deploy lectures from leaders in the field including researchers, venture capitalists, business development experts, corporate leaders and clinical trials experts. Students will engage with the primary literature in which the initial technology was reported. As a final project, students working in teams will develop a business model for a new technology informed by clinical need. Format of clinical/field experiences: The course will incorporate a variety of experiences illustrating the translational spectrum all the way from initial discovery to clinical implementation. During lab immersions, students will interact directly with researchers developing new technologies. They will also interact with venture capitalists, and visit companies to interact with engineers, business development experts, and corporate leaders who are converting new technologies into manufacturable commercial products that meet a market need. For companies that are carrying out clinical trials, students will meet with clinical trials experts. Students will engage with multiple technologies during the course so they can experience different approaches to successful commercialization. Anticipated schedule: All AISCs are full time courses. Students are expected to devote at least 40 hours per week to scheduled sessions and preparatory work. This course will hold daily afternoon four-hour sessions during weeks 1, 2 and 4 that include classroom time and lab immersion, as well as daily biotech industry visits during week 3.
Offered: April
Location: HMS - Harvard Medical School (0)
Description: Summary: The majority of important risk factors for many acute and chronic diseases suffered by people across the globe are related to diet, lifestyle and metabolic factors. A lifestyle with healthy nutrition and physical activity could prevent up to 80% of non-communicable diseases, and dietary patterns are the etiology for numerous acute illnesses in women, children and other susceptible populations. Recent advances in knowledge and technology are transforming the way that we integrate lifestyle into clinical practice. The course will cover a broad range of topics including: how nutrition and lifestyle choices influence health and diseases throughout the lifecourse; nutrition, physical activity, and behavior change as integral part of management of many medical conditions; novel technologies to measure lifestyle behaviors; and behavioral approaches for clinical integration and for personal health. Students will have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of specialty clinical programs, including weight management, diabetes care, hyperlipidemia, parenteral nutrition, neonatal intensive care units, celiac disease, and others. Class sessions will include students’ clinically inspired questions, case-based collaborative learning, journal clubs, and experiential learning. Students will have the opportunity to gain experience in reviewing critically the current literature, summarizing their review findings, and presenting in front of their peers. This AISC combines the expertise of multiple faculty members across HMS-affiliated institutions to offer students the opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills to integrate nutrition, physical activity, and other lifestyle behaviors in their future career. Format of classroom-based sessions: Classroom sessions will use various approaches, including experiential learning, case-based collaborative learning, journal club, and invited speakers who are experts in the fields of nutrition, physical activity, and behavior change. Format of clinical experiences: Two half-days per week of clinical experiences, including with health professionals such as dieticians, physical therapists, in addition to physicians in multidisciplinary specialty clinics (as listed above). Anticipated schedule: All AISCs are full time courses. Students are expected to devote at least 40 hours per week to scheduled sessions and preparatory work. This course will generally require in class presence three half-days per week, in addition to the two half-days of clinical experience. The two half-days of clinical experience can be scheduled during any week days that are not planned as in-class sessions. Some optional activities will be offered, depending on students’ interest.
Offered: March
Location: HMS - Harvard Medical School (0)
Description: Summary: While substantial advances have been made in the quest for health equity and the delivery of healthcare to vulnerable populations over the last fifty years, much remains to be done to deliver on a promise of “health for all” in communities in Boston and around the world. The course will emphasize how the social and population sciences are applied to address problems of health access and health equity in vulnerable populations. Students will learn or deepen their understanding of clinical epidemiology and population health, health policy, and social medicine as it applies to key public health challenges in Boston and globally, especially related to disease outbreaks, and diseases affecting the poorest populations. The goal of the course is to prepare students with tools required to understand challenges and to explore opportunities to address health inequities. Format of classroom-based sessions: Three afternoons per week will be as a full group in class. We will explore current issues of global public health importance such as investigating disease outbreaks, control of diarrheal disease, substance use disorder, access to surgery, and community health worker models. We will consider how basic science discoveries (like vaccines or new therapeutics) get applied to emerging public health problems, as well as the challenges and opportunities to doing so. Sessions will include case-based learning led by course directors, discussion of the research literature, as well as invited expert speakers. Format of clinical/field experiences: Students attend 2 clinics/group experiential learning sessions per week with a focus on vulnerable populations. The goal is to use patient encounters to stimulate questions about how the methods discussed in class have a role to play in exploring the frontiers of healthcare delivery in these groups. Students will keep a log of patient experiences and questions that will be discussed in class. Anticipated schedule: All AISCs are full time courses. Students are expected to devote at least 40 hours per week to scheduled sessions and preparatory work. Students will meet for 3 half days in class per week on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursday afternoons (with some exceptions) and also have either two half-day clinic sessions or one half-day field experience and one half-day clinic session per week, on Wednesdays and Friday afternoons (with possible exceptions).
Offered: March
Location: HMS - Harvard Medical School (0)
Description: Summary: The highest quality of care can be described as providing the “right care at the right time, to the right patient.” Evidence based care has become the cornerstone of clinical care but researchers have noticed a gap where best practices do not always translate to improved care at the bedside. Implementation science provides insight into why some interventions are successful and others are not. This course introduces students to the framework and research methodology that explore these issues. Forefronts in system data including systems engineering methods, modeling, and artificial intelligence will be shared. Given that improvement across a system is inextricably linked to care at the frontline, the approach and tools of quality improvement will also be taught. This course will expose students to the breadth of possibility of scientific work in this field – all within the context of real world gaps and finding solutions for the future. Format of classroom-based sessions: Classroom sessions will use a variety of approaches, including case-based collaborative learning, interactive workshops to teach improvement tools and methodology, interactive research sessions, and invited speakers who are experts in their fields. Examples of both successful and unsuccessful approaches will be shared. Students will be assigned to small groups to analyze specific problems and generate possible research designs to evaluate solutions. Students will be expected to complete preparatory reading, with presentations and projects over the four weeks. The final project will include a group research proposal and presentation to study evidence based interventions to a quality problem. Format of clinical/field experiences: Clinic/field sessions will vary including direct observation of work in clinical settings and meetings with stakeholders in operations and QI and Safety (hospital administrators, local HMS-affiliated nonprofits dedicated to improved quality and safety, frontline clinicians, etc.). Students will be assigned to one of five small groups with each group focused on a different gap or problem. Students' preferences will be solicited before assignments. The objective is for students to design rigorous research questions affecting both the front line and the organizational level. Anticipated schedule: All AISCs are full time courses. Students are expected to devote at least 40 hours per week to scheduled sessions and preparatory work. This course holds class three half days, and students spend an additional two half-days in clinical or field visits per week (individual clinic schedules will vary), as well as regular preparatory reading for classroom sessions and project development.
Offered: January
Location: HMS - Harvard Medical School (0)
Description: Course Directors:Sebastian Schneeweiss, Jerry Avorn, Aaron Kesselheim, Niteesh Choudhry, Michael Fischer Prescription drugs are the most commonly used and effective interventions in all of medicine, but their use can also raise important questions about adverse effects and affordability. This course will integrate clinical, epidemiological, and policy perspectives exposing students to cutting-edge developments on how evidence on medications is generated and used in health care. It will present several perspectives: initial assessment by the FDA based on pre-approval trials, measuring effectiveness and safety in routine care based on epidemiologic studies, their important clinical role in preventing and treating disease, factors affecting patient adherence, balancing benefits and risks in prescribing, coverage by public and private payers, and drug pricing and cost-effectiveness. These themes will be discussed in interactive workshops with a focus on decision making with partial and developing evidence, guest lecturers (such as past or current FDA regulators), clinical case discussions, and site visits. Throughout the course, students will develop their own effectiveness, safety, cost, and adherence analysis projects using longitudinal datasets that describe all medication use and clinical outcomes in a population of ~30 million actual (de-identified) patients, directly employing easy-to-use software. Each student’s analytics project will be coordinated with the lectures, journal clubs, and workshops and will result in a brief report structured like a journal article. Format of classroom-based sessions: Classroom sessions will be divided into three parts. Interactive lectures will set the stage for each of the themes with discussion of the assigned readings. Closely mentored small-group work in journal clubs and interactive workshops, and a mock FDA advisory committee meeting will help students understand how evidence is generated and used, how difficult benefit-risk-cost decisions are made, and how to critically read the medical literature in each of these domains. The third part will be comprised of 2-hour computer labs in which students will develop, implement, and report their own studies on medication effectiveness, adherence and cost. Format of clinical/field experiences: One morning of each week will be spent visiting 1) a leading research group in evidence generation (RCTs, database studies), 2) a health technology assessment group making recommendations about prioritizing medication coverage, 3) a non-profit organization focused on dissemination of evidence, and 4) a clinical session of case studies on optimal prescribing in light of effectiveness, safety, and access. Anticipated schedule: All AISC are full time courses. Students are expected to devote 40 hours per week total, divided between scheduled sessions and preparatory work. Students will spend three mornings per week in interactive classroom sessions (presentations and journal clubs), one morning per week in visits with experts or leading groups in evidence generation and assessment, and one morning in interactive small-group workshops. Each Monday and Wednesday there will be two additional 2-hour population database labs in the afternoons to support student projects. (No computer experience required.)