University of Pittsburgh


Organ System Pathophysiology

Body Fluid Homeostasis Cardiovascular Course

August 20, 2018-September 21, 2018
30 half days

Course Director
Jenifer Lee, MD
Associate Professor
Department of Medicine

Course Description

The Cardiovascular course is the first in a sequence of three courses (CV, Renal, Pulmonary) that focus on Body Fluid Homeostasis.

The goals of the course are:

  1. to understand the normal anatomy and physiological function of the cardiovascular system.
  2. to understand the sites of action and the mechanisms of pharmacological agents that act on the cardiovascular system.
  3. to understand basic anatomical pathology that results from diseases of the cardiovascular system.
  4. to learn the characteristic clinical presentation of common diseases in the cardiovascular system.
  5. to learn the physical findings, laboratory diagnostic tools, clinical presentation, and the basis of treatments used for cardiovascular disease.

The 39 faculty are from 6 Departments: Cell Biology and Physiology; Medicine; Pathology; Pediatrics; Pharmacology; and Surgery.

Educational Methods

Educational methods are summarized below. The cardiovascular physical diagnosis examination is taught using a Harvey simulator and a computer-based module on heart sounds.


Lectures Problem-based learning Small-group workshops    
Harvey simulator Criley CD ROM Self-study    



Evaluation for this course is based on two multiple choice examinations, a midterm exam (30%) and a final exam (50%), and on attendance, and participation in PBL sessions and workshops (20%).

Grading: This course comprises 44% of the grade for the Organ Systems Pathophysiology Block, Section 2. Grading for the block is Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory.

Faculty Note

Course Director Jenifer Lee, MD, is a recipient of the Excellence in Education Award for Small Group Facilitator. William DeGroat, MD and Steven Tofovic, MD, are recipients of the Kenneth E. Schuit  Master Educator Award. In addition, Drs. DeGroat and Tofovic; Donald DeFranco, PhD; William Follansbee, MD; Joan Lakowski, PhD; Jenifer Lee, MD; and William McIvor, MD, are members of the UPSOM Academy of Master Educators.