Medical Year 1

Medicine & Society

Dr. Carl Li
Medicine and Society is a five-day crash course on the fundamental principles of epidemiology, preventive medicine, and evidence-based medicine. It covers basic statistical tests and clinical research design. The material is not really hard, but it can be a bit overwhelming for people who have not taken statistics, or are still living in the A+ Zone. The bulk of the class is taught by Dr. Carl Li. Dr. Li tells a lot of bizarre anecdotes from his years in medical school and as a U.S. Public Health Service officer in Alaska. He’ll probably recount the story of the first leg amputation he observed. (“There’s nothing like the sound of the leg hitting the floor – THUD!”) His sarcastic sense of humor helps keep people’s attention, as the lecture material can be a bit dry.
The assigned textbook is okay, but since the lecture notes are very well written, many people thought the book was an unnecessary purchase. You may also break up into small groups to discuss the homework, which is relatively painless. This is a mercifully short class, but the faculty will be back to haunt you again in the second year.
2007 Unauthorized UB Survival Handbook

Clinical Practices of Medicine I

Clinical Practice of Medicine… oh boy! This is the class that reminds you why you’re actually here. You’ll actually learn how to interview and examine patients. It’s somewhat less stressful than the other classes and, chances are, you’ll actually have fun playing doctor at a local hospital or clinic.

CPM is taught both semesters. You learn how to conduct interviews during 1st semester, and 2nd semester is devoted to conducting the physical exam. The class is divided into two groups. After the one hour Monday lecture (which sometimes is absolutely pointless), one group attends seminar while the other group goes to their clinical preceptors. In the small seminar groups, led by local physicians, you will practice interviewing each other, as well as “standardized patients” – people from the community who agree to be interviewed and examined by students.

Each student will be assigned to a preceptor, a local primary-care physician who will help you refine your history taking and physical exam skills in a real clinic. Clinical sites range from small rural clinics to the large county hospital. Facing a real patient may seem intimidating at first, but you’ll be surprised at how much easier it becomes as the semester progresses. The preceptors volunteer to work with first-year students, so they are generally enthusiastic about helping you develop clinical skills.

First semester, the final exam consists of both a written test and two mock interviews. The written test is quite straightforward and painless. [Hint: know the racial/ethnicity distribution in Erie County.] As for the interviews, you’ll probably have to take a full history with one patient (either an adolescent or an elderly patient), and problem-focused history (such as a patient presenting with pain symptoms) with the other. This may change, of course, but in general it’s much less stressful than Fundamentals or Gross Anatomy. By the time the final comes, you will have had so much practice interviewing patients, that it will seem relatively simple. Just remember your OLD CARTS!

In the second semester of CPM, you will start to learn about the physical exam. You will learn to take blood pressure, and use the fancy otoscope and ophthalmoscope that you bought. Reading assignments are more cumbersome, but come straight from the Mosby’s. You’ll spend hours reading hundreds of pages on disease after disease after disease of organ systems not yet covered in other classes.
2007 Unauthorized UB Student Survival Handbook

Gross Anatomy

Drs. Cynthia Dlugos, Robert Hard, James Karnes, John Kolega, Frank Mendel, Charles Severin
Human Gross Anatomy is one of the most interesting and clinically relevant courses of the first year. This was, by far, the most intense course of first semester, but also a favorite among many students.

You will be spending more time on this course than any other, and you’ll soon realize that it fully deserves its 6.0 credit rating. There will be times when you’ll wonder how you can ever learn everything, but you will (and you’ll proceed to forget it just seconds after exiting the exam). This is the opportunity to remember back to that certain something that intrigued you about the human body and made you enter medicine.

The absolute best advice is: TAKE THIS COURSE SERIOUSLY FROM DAY ONE. You are going to be bombarded with more information than you’ve ever had before, unless, like some people, you’ve taken it before. I know that you may have heard this kind of statement many times before in the past, but this time, it’s for real. It is important for you to figure out how to best memorize masses of information quickly. When you come home from class the first (and every) day, try to commit the information from that day to memory (no one in the entire history of medical school has successfully done this – but it is good advice!). That alone will take a considerable amount of time. You’ll find that you no longer have time to make pretty flash cards or color-code your notes. You’ll be busy memorizing groups of words that you may have never heard before – simply learning how to pronounce the words correctly takes considerable time. When you think you have a good grasp on the day’s material, close your notes. Think of a structure and describe it, draw it, and name related nerves and blood supplies. Another suggestion – study as if the test were the next day – this WILL make you learn.

The key to anatomy, again, is to start off strong and do well in the first block. If you think you are going to need extra help ask for it early. After the first exam may be too late; you need to do well on the first exam to buffer your score for the later blocks. The material on the head, neck, and cranial nerves will be the densest, although nothing in Gross Anatomy should be underestimated. Your brain is going to be tired by the end of this course. More advice: take all of your med school enthusiasm, leaving just enough for your other four classes, and go nuts in anatomy for ten weeks!

There are a few hints for lab as well. This will be the first time a number of students encounter an actual dead body, and others will be still grieving from a loss of their own. Father Pat from the Newman Center is usually in the lab for the first couple of sessions. Not only is he great to talk to about your concerns, but he also has been known to actually pick up a scalpel and help you dissect. At the end of the semester, there is a Gross Anatomy Memorial which will help bring closure to the experience.
There are too many people assigned to each cadaver (usually eight or nine) simultaneously to work effectively, especially when you are all trying to dissect parts of the head. This is apparent to everyone except the faculty. Don’t feel bad about leaving lab early when there simply is not enough room for you to work; your time is better spent elsewhere. Talk to your tablemates to make plans for who will dissect when.

Before each dissection, one of the faculty members will go over the instructions with each group in a “prosection” held in a smaller room outside the lab. This is the time to ask questions about the procedures. This does not mean that they will actually show you how to do your dissection but is more of a loose guide. There is no perfectly pre-disected body to look at other than what is given in the atlases and Grant’s. Keep in mind that many of the dissections are modified from Grant’s Dissector, and may differ from what is written in the book, so pay attention! In addition to the professors who teach their respective sections, there are 4th year students helping out who will give presentations on parts that they think are important. The 4th year students are helpful most of the time but do not count on them exclusively. Mostly they will have some tips about remembering different things such as the bones of the wrist.

You will be required to present your dissections to other students at your table. Each table is split into four groups of two or three students each, and each group dissects different parts of the cadaver. You are responsible for teaching your classmates about the structures you dissect. The idea is to have each person in the group teach the others about an area that he or she knows well. Many people also make models or prepare handouts with mnemonics, charts, or sketches in addition to their oral presentations.

The lab is open at night and on weekends for extra study or dissection time. It’s a great break from book studying, but be prepared to suck it up and go in on weekends. Some people go in every Friday and Saturday night (this is not an option for some people). You don’t have time during lab to study the material, so you have to make the trip in, even if it means giving up your free time. Lab time is invaluable; this is when you solidify what you have learned (plus, it’s a lot more fun than just reading a book or looking at pictures). Actually, the lab time on a Saturday afternoon can be surprisingly entertaining. You might even find yourself looking forward to it, and then missing it when the class is over. Also, take time to look at the prepared exhibits and models on the sides of the lab especially the cross-sections as these will be certainly tested on and will be helpful when trying to read MRI results. They can help enormously and tend to show up on exams. In general, take the lab part of the course as seriously as the lecture, if not more.

Overall, the best advice is to keep up, do not get discouraged, and take the course seriously. Know the class notes and what is presented in lab by your tablemates. Study with your friends from other tables that are from other dissection groups. Look at a lot of cadavers, not just yours (different cadavers look completely different). Exams are structured to give you “textbook” specimens, but drawn pictures and real specimens look different! Remember, you are tested on YOUR dissections. So if you have crummy dissections and your dissection appears as a question on the exam, everyone suffers. Since the anatomy practical is probably unlike any test you’ve ever taken, you’ll get a brief practice practical, organized by a few harried second-year students, right before your first exam.

Two years ago there was an incident when some "medical students" allegedly screwed up some dental students’ ansa cervicalis dissection. The course director went ballistic and treated us like guilty second graders and closed down the lab for three days over a weekend. That was one of the most irritating moments I've ever reached in med school – and all because some students needed to tell the professor what was going on with their dissection. Bottom line, barring any major concern at an anatomy table, I think it's wisest to just keep such incidents to oneself, so as not to ruin the lab hours of every dang student involved in anatomy. Just a thought; and, for the record, the ansa cervicalis was accidentally damaged by another member of the same dental table.

As for the faculty in this course, there are many. During your first day of lab, you may be rudely introduced to Dr. Ray Dannenhoffer. He is there to scare you a little, and he sure does. Believe him when he tells you to study anatomy four hours a day – it will be easier in the long run and you still won’t know it all. He might have a funny way of showing it, but Ray is in the med school for the students. He may like to bust people’s chops, but he is also a superb teacher and has a great sense of humor. (Students in the past have warned others to be wary of asking him for help on dissections – as he has a tendency to rip vital and delicate parts. Although after this same statement appeared in a previous edition of the handbook, Dannenhoffer was seen less often in the lab. He also happens to be responsible for the printing of the handbook.) You want Ray on your side. Don’t piss him off. Just do your stuff (and return the bone box at the end of the semester).

Kevin and Tom are the caretakers of the lab. Kevin’s the young guy and Tom’s the older one. They can become your best friends. They always keep the students’ best interests in mind and are very willing to help as long as you treat them with the respect they deserve. Heck, they’ve been here so long, they probably know this stuff better than the professors. However, they always act like they know nothing. Don’t let the façade fool you.

You will probably start the course with the axial skeleton and the muscles of the back, neck, shoulder, and arm. Dr. John Kolega will probably continue to teach these sections. He knows his stuff and is pretty good. Some found him to be a bit on the boring side, but his lectures are very thorough.

Dr. James Karnes goes over the hand, gluteal region, and the lower limb. He is a down-to-earth guy who cracks jokes and loves to talk about his dog. He is a great asset to the class as well.

Dr. Charles Severin is an amazing teacher. He has a knack for explaining complex stuff and having you remember it. He teaches the thorax and perineum. Dr. Severin spends a lot of time in the lab answering questions, and his patience and dedication are truly remarkable. His review sessions in the lab are the best – and he’ll repeat his presentations over and over without complaining, even when it’s late at night. When he comes to your table, expect half the class to show up and watch, with the more adventurous ones standing on tables and stools to catch every word he says. He’ll give you many hints for the both for the exam and being PIMPed (Put In My Place) in the third and fourth years.

Dr. Cynthia Dlugos covers the abdomen, as well as the autonomic nervous system. She loves teaching students, and always comes up with creative props for her lectures, using towels, socks, metal rods, and vegetables from her own garden. She’ll be up to her elbows with guts as she helps you with your dissection: “This is why they call it GROSS anatomy!” The thorax and abdomen sections are more difficult than the musculoskeletal stuff, although it may not seem to be. Just remember not to blow off these sections, which include most of the internal organs: heart, lungs, GI tract, and the reproductive organs. Dr. Dlugos’s notes are heart-wrenchingly detailed and, yup, you need to know it all.

Drs. Frank Mendel and Robert Hard teach the head, neck, and cranial nerves sections. They are both excellent, and you can learn a lot from them if you show that you are putting some effort into this course. Dr. Hard (who, incidentally looks a bit like Dr. Karnes) gives off a tough appearance, but is a really nice and helpful guy deep down. The head and neck dissections are a bit harder, because the structures are smaller and are often shielded by bone. This is where the saws and chisels come in handy. Be sure to start learning the cranial nerves from the first day! It’s a guarantee that your head will be spinning after one of Dr. Mendel’s lectures or prosections, so try to read your notes before class,. Dr. Mendel loves comparative anatomy, so be prepared to endure digressions into primitive mammals. He may not answer your question directly, but you will gain a better understanding of embryology.

Embryology is scattered through the various sections of the course, with some more discussion in the other classes. The assigned text, Before We Are Born, was not too helpful. Most students didn’t bother purchasing it. Embryology can be quite complex but most exam questions pertaining to the topic were relatively straightforward and always found in the class notes. There will be questions on embryology on the exams so try to understand where structures have their origins and this will make it easier. Even so, there is a lot of information so do the best you can!

As for gross lab and getting help during lab time, you will find it almost impossible. Professors walk around with a long list of tables to visit, and you may be one on a list of 10 or 15… provided they remember you at all. Some tables will monopolize a professor, so don’t be afraid to get pushy. Some professors are disturbingly long-winded, and others don’t know what the hell they are talking about and will waste your time either: a) guessing at structures, b) totally destroying your dissections, or c) telling chauvinistic jokes. We also had some fourth-years and residents rotating through lab. Some of them were terrific. Make friends with them early, because they are much more readily available than the professors.

First-years can be smelled a mile away. Some people avoided wearing their good sneakers into lab, while other people always wore street clothes under their scrubs (long-sleeved T-shirts were popular). You’ll figure out what works for you. Do wash your scrubs at least twice in the semester – please!!! You’ll get two sets of scrubs – it’s a good idea to wear each set for a week and wash them together every two weeks. And wash your hands well afterwards – eating a sandwich while your hands reek of formalin is pretty nauseating. It’s strange though: you’d figure the last thing you’d want to do after Gross is eat. However, keep in mind that formalin stimulates the appetite; you WILL walk out feeling ravenous!

Try to stay excited and enthused. Come second semester, you’ll be likely to miss Gross. Enjoy the experience – few people will ever get to do what you will do!
2007 Unauthorized UB Student Survival Handbook

Fundamentals I

Dr. Murray Ettinger
We will not lie to you – Fundamentals I is a very challenging course. It is challenging not because it is difficult, but because you are trying to keep your head above water in Gross Anatomy.

Our first lecture series came from Dr. Murray Ettinger, a scratchy-voiced, funny-looking guy whose entire life seems to revolve around enzymes, proteins, and COLLAGEN SUPERSTAR. Learning this material is tedious, difficult and irrelevant to many clinicians that lack a research background.

Dr. Ettinger insists that students see the “forest for the trees,”— the big picture; however, his test questions are quite specific. Never fear, the answers are found within the course notes in either word or pictorial format; the “really important stuff,” will appear in both. Dr. Ettinger highlights key concepts in his notes with exclamations, such as “WOW!” or “NEATO.” Area marked “FFT” stand for forest for trees not food for thought; you must know and understand these pages in order to get that desired H. Sections labeled “FYI” will not be tested on the exams, but may come up indirectly. For example, you don’t need to memorize amino acid structures, but don’t kid yourself — you do need to know which amino acids are acidic, basic, etc. You MUST understand Dr. Ettinger’s material, not just memorize it. Pay attention in class, or his exams will hurt you.

How does one succeed? First, go to class, and stay awake. Second, use the “Ramifications” handout as a study guide. Third, take the time to do old test questions especially the essays. Dr. Ettinger stresses quality not quantity; the majority of essay questions can be answered in about five words along with a simple illustration. Lastly, if you find yourself struggling, trek up to the sixth floor of the Biomedical Research Building; after getting off the elevator, follow the trail of papers to Dr. Ettinger’s office. Whether you need extra help, have a complaint/suggestion regarding the module, or just need a chat his door is always open. Dr. Ettinger has been teaching here forever and truly cares about the students; do not hesitate to ask him for help!

During the second half of Fundamentals I, you’ll also meet Dr. Mark O’Brian, a molecular geneticist. Memorization simply will not ensure good results on his tests. To do well in this section, work on the practice problems in the back of his manual and do so early don’t wait until the night before the test to start. Although the material may be familiar to folks who have taken genetics before in college, do not be fooled! You will notice that Dr. O’Brien likes trickier questions than Dr. Ettinger. Unfortunately, Dr. O’Brien gives skimpy, outline-form notes, so go to class, and take copious notes!
2007 Unauthorized UB Student Survival Handbook

Fundamentals II

Dr. Alan Reynard
This class covers basic principles in pathology, microbiology, immunology, genetics, and pharmacology. The material spans a wide array of disciplines and is generally more difficult than Fundamentals I. It is easy to fall behind in Fundamentals II, especially near the end of the semester when it coincides with the infamous head and neck block of gross anatomy. Most students agree that the best way to study is to read over a particular day’s lectures that very same day you attend the lecture.

The first week of the course, taught by Dr. Reid Heffner, is an introduction to pathology. Dr. Heffner is also the course coordinator for the musculoskeletal module, so you’ll see him again in the spring. His lecture handouts are very complete and easy to follow. Robbin’s Pathologic Basis of Disease is a great supplement to his lectures. Dr. Lucia Balos gives a lecture on neoplasia. She can be a bit scattered, and some people still claim to be asleep from her lecture. There are also several pathology labs, where the class breaks up into small groups to look at slides under the guidance of the pathology faculty led by Dr. Linda Wild. Dr. Wild is also responsible for the Pathology Image Gallery that you will begin using in this course. There will be many more of these lab exercises and pathology images throughout the systems-based modules.

Dr. Alan Reynard, the course coordinator of Fundamentals II, teaches the cancer chemotheraphy and antimicrobial lectures. He loves to talk about the history of drugs and how they were discovered. His lecture handouts are just reprints of his slides so it is important to take notes during class. He is laid-back and helpful to students, so don’t hesitate to contact him if you need help. Also, Lippincott’s Illustrated Reviews: Pharmacology can clarify many of the concepts he discusses. Dr. Reynard’s reviews are critical. His exam questions are very hard. You have to know the material well – all of it, even figure captions.

Dr. Ernesto DeNardin teaches most of the immunology lectures. He is hilarious, perhaps shockingly so, and loves to show pictures of his family. His lectures are easy to follow, so “you don’t have to smoke a bong the size of a toilet to understand.” The greatest part of his lecture is the last three minutes, when he recaps everything and tells you exactly what you need to know for the exam. Yet, don’t think that Dr. DeNardin is all fun and games, his exam questions are challenging. However, when review time for Boards comes around, you may find yourself lacking in some important immunology concepts. Supplement Fund II immunology with a simple outside review book and this will do the trick for Boards (see forum Boards studying). Dr. Reynard gives the lecture on the complement system. Dr. Sarah Gaffen gives lectures on innate immunity, cytokines and autoimmunity. She talks a mile a minute so pay attention to her weird slides and disregard her “uh… um’s”. There’s always the class recording if you really think you missed something important.

Sometime in the middle of immunology, you’ll take a break and learn more pharmacology from Dr. Jerrold Winter. Dr. Winter is intelligent – perhaps too intelligent, but he’ll leave you with some memorable comments. “Potency is important. How many condoms do you want to swallow?” You will also learn about toxicology from Dr. Paul Kostyniak.

Around week six of the course, Drs. Terry Connell and James Hernandez begin with an introduction to microbiology. They are fairly good lectures and the handouts are very good. Dr. Hernandez tends to read out of his notes, so you don’t need to attend his lectures. Drs. Anthony Campagnari, John Crane, John Hay, Alan Lesse, Joseph Mylotte, Laurie Read, Brahm Segal, and Harshad Thacore teach the rest of the microbiology lectures. Dr. Crane gives lots of detailed information, so start memorizing early. He often updates his slides; get the handouts in the back of the class. Be sure to attend Dr. Lesse’s lecture because he tells you what you need to know for the exam (red = testable). Dr. Lesse will be back in the spring to teach you antibiotics and anti-virals in the system-based courses. There is also a microbiology lab in Fundamentals II, organized by Darlene Dombroski. It’s not too unbearable – you’ll get to take throat cultures of your classmates.

Last, but certainly not least, Dr. Richard Erbe teaches genetics. The faculty has been experimenting with moving the core genetics curriculum between Fundamentals II, and the GI/Metabolism module (think inborn errors of metabolism). Dr Erbe has a wonderful collection of patient who will visit the class to put a face on genetic disorders. He is very soft-spoken, so don’t be afraid to ask him to increase the microphone volume. His lectures are sometimes painful to sit through, but his lecture notes are very organized. He’ll give you multiple copies of his lecture notes and, if you’re lucky, one of them may even match what he presents in class. You’ll see him again in the other modules.
2007 Unauthorized UB Student Survival Handbook


Dr. John R. Cotter
Histology is not offered as a course in itself, but bits and pieces are scattered throughout the different course modules. During the first semester, you will learn to recognize basic structures in the cell, as well as general tissue types such as epithelium, fibroelastic connective tissue, muscular tissue, or nervous tissue. Most people found these lectures to be horrible and boring. A mere mention of the word “histology” induces many a groan and rolling of the eyes.

In the first semester, you will learn most of your histology from a set of © computer programs produced by Dr. John Cotter. The navigation is a little odd and the text is full of typos, but overall these computer tutorials are very helpful and eliminate the need for TAs and microscopes. They also have quizzes built-in that are very good. It is often hard to concentrate on the programs during the assigned “lab time” in the mornings, so don’t feel bad if you can use the time to prepare for other classes. You can always complete the programs at your own pace in your free time either at the computer lab or at home via citrix (you have to search a little bit, but it is available).

Dr. Chester Glomski is funny and knows his stuff, although his lectures are hard to follow (his stroke explains his stutter). He is a nice guy, and answers questions well. Have some pictures available when you go through his notes. Dr. Cotter is okay as a lecturer and helpful in the computer lab.

When you start the organ-based modules in the second semester, you will actually work with real microscopes and slides. Dr. Dlugos reappears in the GI module and is awesome. She tells you what you need to know in an orderly manner. Her notes are very well-organized, and much better than the textbook. She truly cares for the students, and is always very helpful in the lab. Contact her early to schedule a review session where she will show you all the required structures on the group microscopes. Attend the Saturday review session right before the exam and your tummy may be rewarded with some of her home-made cookies. ☺

The second half of Histology pits you with the infamous videos. EVERYONE who graduated within the last few decades remembers the videos (“He’s STILL showing those awful things?”). And awful they are. Produced by © Dr. Cotter Productions, these videos sometimes last an hour and are about as bland as you can get. You’ll find more entertainment in tracking the pointer on the screen than in paying attention. They often were a source of comedy at lunchtime conversation; they’re also a great inducer of sleep. After the video, there are many choices for the rest of lab time. Most people take the gung-ho approach and try to find everything themselves. Usually, however, you’ll try to work with the people near you and get help from the professor that is in the room. The final option is to copy verbatim the description from the video into your lab book. If you are like most students, you will find that your time is better spent elsewhere. (You might see that statement in this handbook more than once!) Just make sure you look at the slides at SOME point in time.
2007 Unauthorized UB Student Survival Handbook


Dr. Lynn Steinbrenner
Hematology is a very well taught course; however, having a relatively short time
to learn the many hematologic disorders, the amount of information to sort out may get
overwhelming and confusing. To learn the subject well, I strongly recommend
reading “Essential Haematology” (Hoffbrand, Moss and Pettit) as different classes
of disorders are covered in class. The book covers all the essential materials in
a clear, concise, and easy-to-understand manner, and is filled with beautiful
illustrations. Keep up with class and read EH, and you will have a lot of fun
with this course!


Dr. Alistair Brownie
The GI module, also known as Welcome-to-the-organ-systems (the 10 days of Hematology prior to GI are just an extended Winter break), was the longest, most densely-packed module that I have experienced in the first 2 years. Some say it’s the worst of them all, not necessarily because its poorly taught, but because of the break-neck speed and massive volumes of intricate information contained within. The best strategy for this is to do some studying everyday to minimize how far behind you are because YOU WILL BE BEHIND, no matter what. For the class of 2010, the GI module included Genetics, Nutrition, GI Physiology, and the associated histology and pathologies of every organ from esophagus to anus.

Genetics (Dr. Erbe) – the material isn’t so bad, but Dr Erbe, who is a phenomenal physician and supremely intelligent man, isn’t a natural 1st-year-student-lecturer or test-question writer. He tends to lecture far beyond what it seems we should know in our first year. Nutrition (Drs. Brownie, Lee, Patel) – This section goes very quickly and covers a lot, which works for those who have studied it in college, but those with no background tend to really struggle here. Dr Brownie is very demanding, but it is because he is so passionate about your need to know this material. GI Physiology (Dr. Duffey) – Dr Duffey really simplifies the cell physiology and he makes it seem easy, but there is so much transport back and forth along the gut it can be quite easy to get it mixed up. Histology (Dr Dlugos) – All the organs have different functions, yet all the cells look quite similar on histology. Spend lots of time in the Histo labs looking at slides, and its best to study the function of the cells while doing the histology it helps you remember them. Pathology (many many people) – It seems like you are being taught by a new person every day, some better than others.

To succeed in this course you need to work at it pretty much every day because it’s very easy to fall so far behind, it won’t be possible to catch up before the many exams. Also, be sure to ask for help EARLY if you feel lost, especially in Nutrition. Don’t be intimidated by Dr. Brownie, many of your classmates will rattle off answers to his questions, but it’s because they already know the Kreb cycle reactions from their previous academic life.


Dr. James Lohr
This module is the last of your first year! This module is significantly shorter than the GI module. You’ll get mixed responses as to the level of difficulty on the material. It all depends on you and your grasp of the renal system. You’ll find that you have a lot more free time during renal, as compared to GI. The coordinators arranged the schedule to include several hours of PBL each week, when in reality, the cases only take about 30 minutes.

The hardest part of the course is the physiology. Dr. Krasney does his best to explain it but it can still be quite mind boggling and most students find it helpful to read up on renal physiology in an outside text. You will spend most of your study time trying to grasp the equations and calculations necessary for the course. However, you will be provided with ample practice problems, and the time you spend will be well rewarded since the calculations on the test will be similar to the ones you see in practice. MAKE SURE YOU DO THE PRACTICE QUESTIONS!!!!!

Dr. Barbara Stefanick covers most of renal pathology in three overwhelming lectures. Her notes are hopelessly long and complex. She packs so much information into her slides that they are impossible to read. We had to ask to have the slides put up on blackboard so that we could print them out in a large font. Don’t bother taking notes during her lectures either because all she basically does is read them to you without really presenting any new information. After her three horrific lectures, she does hand out a chart with the most important information about the diseases she discusses. This ends up being one of the most helpful study guides. If you read Robbin’s, you’ll understand the difference between nephrotic syndrome and nephritic syndrome in no time.

Dr. James Lohr, the module coordinator covers the majority of the clinical information, as well as a couple of the PBL cases. Dr. Lohr is very easy-going and although his lectures are on the dull side, he tells you exactly what you need to know for the exam. Pay close attention during the hyper/hyponatremia lecture. It’s very confusing and takes a while to grasp. By the end of renal, most students really liked Dr. Lohr; he even entertained us with a quick 10-minute slide presentation on his life story.

Dr. Thomas Russo teaches the microbiology component of the module. He is an excellent lecturer with a great sense of humor and his handouts are very clear. Dr. Russo is a Red Sox fan, so don’t wear Yankee clothing to class unless you want to be called upon.

Dr. Lesse teaches the pharmacology portion of the module and will tell you everything you need to know about treating urinary tract infections. He too is a great lecturer, and bears an amazing resemblance to Sean Connery. His notes are very thorough, but he highlights exactly what you need to know for the exam. Have a highlighter ready as he highlights in red up on the screen exactly what is testable material!

Dr. Josefina Tienzo talks on renal tubular acidosis. Disregard her lecture – just know about Fanconi Syndrome.

Dr. Rocco Venuto, the donor king, presents one of the clinical cases as well as the lecture on renal transplantation. He is a very knowledgeable man but not the greatest of lecturers. His lectures are very boring and somewhat difficult to follow. Also, he has no respect for time limits and loves to go over his allotted lecture time.
2007 Unauthorized UB Student Survival Handbook


Dr. Reid Heffner
Dr. Heffner, the module coordinator is an excellent professor and he’ll tell you everything you need to know if you attend his reviews. He was probably the most respectful and charismatic professor we’ve had. Did I mention that his reviews are critical?
The course begins with a quick lecture on the epidemiology of musculoskeletal diseases which is relatively straightforward. You then jump into the histology of cartilage and bone. Dr. Wild [Know what an enthesis is.] presented these lectures; but you might have Drs. Cotter or Glomski present this material to you. With a histology lecture always comes a histology lab with the entertaining © Cotter videos.

Next, you will learn about muscle physiology from Dr. David Pendergast. His lecture handouts are incomplete, so it is important to take good notes. However, this is no easy task. He speaks quickly and every word he says is important. You can try using a physiology review book to supplement his lectures. Many students agree that his material was the most challenging portion of the first exam.

There are many pathology lectures throughout the musculoskeletal module. For the first exam, you’ll learn about Paget’s and other interesting bone disease from Drs. Heffner and Wild. There is also a pathology lab exercise on Paget’s disease. These lectures are all pretty interesting and the handouts are very complete. The pathology lectures are critical to passing this class (lots of matching of diseases with their characteristics). Make a chart of the notes and lectures and commit it to memory early. The last week of the module focuses mainly on dermatologic pathology. These lectures were very rushed, and it is recommended that you use Robbin’s as a supplement.

You will also meet Dr. Alan Baer during the musculoskeletal module. He is a great lecturer and teaches you everything you need to know about rheumatoid arthritis and gout. He also brings in one of his patients for a case study and for a brief moment, you may even consider being a rheumatologist.

Some familiar and lovable faces return to give lectures during this module, including Drs. Ettinger, Severin, Russo, and Lesse. For the aspiring orthopedic surgeons, there are two great lectures that you don’t want to miss. One is on arthroscopic surgery and the other is on compartment syndrome.

Musculoskeletal is not particularly difficult but it is your last class before the summer and you don’t want to end up staying in Buffalo or having your plans ruined because you have to make up a class. The hardest part is staying focused and forcing yourself to study as the weather gets nicer. Stay on top of the material and you’ll be rewarded with a nice grade at the end.
2007 Unauthorized UB Student Survival Handbook

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