Clinical Pharmacology

4 weeks

Course Director
Joseph Yanta, MD
Assistant Professor
Department of Emergency Medicine


Associate Course Director
Joshua Shulman, MD
Assistant Professor
Department of Emergency Medicine


The course coordinator for this course is Denise Downs

Course Description

This integrated course consists of five overlapping components: General Clinical Pharmacology, Rational Drug Prescribing, Evidence-Based Pharmacotherapy, Disease-Specific Clinical Topics, and Toxicology.

General Clinical Pharmacology emphasizes the principles of individualization of drug therapy and covers the following relevant topics: pharmacogenomics, drug use in renal disease, drugs in special populations (the neonate and infant and elderly), drug interactions, adverse drug reactions, and therapeutic drug monitoring.

The Rational Drug Prescribing component prepares students to develop a personal formulary through a series of lectures and workshops. This component consists of lectures under the theme "How to Prepare You Own Personal Formulary." In addition, during the workshop on practical aspects of prescribing, the legal and practical aspects of prescribing and the factors that may affect rational prescribing are discussed.

The Evidence-Based Pharmacotherapy component is longitudinal throughout the course. An evidenced-based approach is emphasized, and primary literature is provided and discussed throughout the course.

The Disease-Specific Clinical Topics component addresses the clinical pharmacology of common disorders. Selected topics reflect medical considerations and situations seen most in routine medical practice (the rational pharmacotherapy of hypertension, ischemic heart disease, congestive heart failure, asthma, epilepsy, renal disorders, psychiatric disorders, and infectious diseases).

Toxicology curriculum includes emphasis and didactics on adverse drug reactions, drug toxicity in therapeutic and overdose situations, as well as a foray into envenomation and poisonings with an emphasis on physiology and antidotal therapy.

Course Goals:

  1. Learn to apply the principles of clinical pharmacology and rational pharmacotherapy in clinical practice.
  2. Develop skills and attitudes needed to recognize and avoid irrational prescribing.
  3. Grasp a basic understanding of adverse drug reactions and toxicities and the principles of managing these events.

Additional Goals:

  1. An understanding of the principles of individualization of drug therapy.
  2. A knowledge of the rational pharmacotherapy of diseases and medical conditions most seen in routine medical practice.
  3. The skills and attitudes needed to evaluate drug therapy regimens and to participate in therapy decision-making.

Educational Methods

  • Small group sessions
  • Lectures
  • Quizzes
  • Workshops
  • Problem-based learning
  • Computer-assisted learning
  • Discussions of cases and current articles

There is no patient contact or on-call responsibility. The course schedule typically includes 2 half-day and 3 full-day classroom days each week with time allocated for self-directed learning. Weekly quizzes provide students with an opportunity to assess their learning throughout the course.


Evaluation for this course is based on four weekly quizzes and professionalism criteria. Attendance at all small group sessions is mandatory and students can only be excused from small group sessions with approval of the course director. Students must attend at least 75% of lecture sessions. Students who receive a cumulative score of 70% on quizzes and fulfill professionalism criteria (i.e. attendance) will pass.

Grading is satisfactory / unsatisfactory.

Faculty Note

Course Director Dr. Joseph Yanta, MD is a recipient of the UPSOM Early Career Educator award. Dr. Claire Yanta, MD is a recipient of the Kenneth E. Schuit Master Educator Award.