University of Pittsburgh


Introduction to Patient Care

Clinical Experiences 1

CE2 - August 23, 2018-December 21, 2018 - 17 half days
CE1 - January 24, 2019-April 26, 2019
- 13 half days

Course Director
Andrew A. McCormick, MD
Assistant Professor
Departments of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine

Course Director
Betty Liu, MD
Associate Professor
Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation


Course Description

The Clinical Experiences Course involves 3 placements for one month each (4 sessions): the first is in a primary care office; the second is in a physical medicine & rehabilitation clinic, based on the student’s preference; and the third is a service-learning experience with a community agency or public health project. Each student also participates in a specialized session at a substance-abuse treatment program.

The goals of the course are:

  1. to participate in the provision of medical care in the setting of a physician’s office.
  2. to integrate skills and knowledge from other courses in the Introduction to Patient Care Block.
  3. to appreciate the human and social context of medical care delivery such as cultural sensitivity and health literacy.
  4. to observe the impact of health care financing on medical practice.

More specific objectives of this course are for students:

  1. under the preceptor’s guidance, to practice taking a medical history and to apply recently acquired skills in the outpatient setting.
  2. to learn to establish a relationship with patients and to formulate appropriate preventative medical interventions.
  3. to correlate physicians comments regarding satisfaction in a patient encounter with observation of relationship-building skills.
  4. to document, in a record (log) of patient contacts, both positive and negative behaviors that will affect the way students care for patients.
  5. to assess patients’ health literacy level and provide culturally and linguistically appropriate patient education and counseling.
  6. to design a patient handout/health education brochure on a topic of the student’s choice.
  7. to elicit the physician’s and office staff’s descriptions of third-party payer experiences and how they have changed medical practice.
  8. to note the differences between medical practice (caring for those who come to the office) vs. the broader issue of health care delivery (who can and cannot access health care).
  9. to know how to access community resources and options for those who are medically uninsured or underinsured.

More than 100 physicians serve as preceptors for the primary care and specialty clinical experiences. Forty-two community agencies and public health projects are available for the service-learning experiences.

Educational Methods


Preceptorship Patient write-up Community encounter /community-based work Case study
Patient care activities Clinical skills development Independent study    


Curricular Themes

Access to quality health services, Child health/healthcare, Communication skills, Community health, Educational and community-based programs, Geriatric health/healthcare, Health care financing, Health communication, HIV, Human development, Medical ethics, Mental health and mental disorders, Patient health education, Preventive medicine, Public health infrastructure, Substance abuse


Evaluation is based on preceptor assessment, the patient handout/health education brochure, and the course final examination.

Grading: Students are required to pass Clinical Experiences 1 to pass the Introduction to Patient Care Block, Section 2. Grading for the block is Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory.

Grading: Students are required to pass Clinical Experiences 2 to pass the Introduction to Patient Care Block, Section 3. Grading for the block is Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory.

Faculty Note

Course Director Andrew McCormick, MD is a recipient of the Clerkship Preceptor of the Year Award. Jason Rosenstock, MD, is a recipient of the the Kenneth E. Schuit Master Educator Award. J. Alex Viehman, MD is a recipient of the Clinical Educator of the Year Award. In addition, Dr. Rosenstock; Robert Arnold, MD; Kevin Garrett, MD; and Elmer Holzinger, MD, are members of the UPSOM Academy of Master Educators.