NYMC > School of Medicine (SOM) > SOM Academics > Undergraduate Medical Education (M.D. Program) > Curriculum > Areas of Concentration Program

Areas of Concentration Program

The Areas of Concentration Program (AOC) is designed to provide elective opportunities for medical students who wish to pursue an area of personal interest in depth during medical school beyond the required medical school curriculum. Students enrolled in this program will be required to complete additional coursework in the area of focused study as well as a senior capstone project.  Because of the intensity of study, the School of Medicine recognizes successful completion of the program by granting a certificate.

Areas of concentration disciplines:

The general requirements of the AOC program include completion of: 

  1. One discipline specific foundational AOC elective course during pre-clerkship curriculum:
    • Foundational Electives are designed to provide students with a broad overview of the content area and provide a framework for the student’s scholarly capstone project.
    • Attendance online and in person is expected weekly for each course.
  2. Regular attendance at scheduled AOC seminars during pre-clerkship curriculum
    • These include research seminars to provide students enrolled across concentration domains with the knowledge and skills to complete a successful capstone project
  3. One discipline specific advanced AOC elective (Year Four)
  4. A Scholarly Capstone Project in AOC discipline
    • The required capstone project is a scholarly endeavor that provides an opportunity for a student to demonstrate their comprehensive understanding of a subject relevant to their concentration focus.  The final product should be a research-oriented paper that could be offered for publication.

Additional information about Scholarly Capstone Projects:

  • All students must submit a capstone project proposal no later than March of their M3 year. For the Biomedical Research concentration, this proposal will take the form of a completed MSR application for a research elective.
  • Capstone projects must be done in conjunction with an identified faculty mentor
  • The director of each AOC can provide example capstone projects and suggest potential mentors.
  • All students must have written approval by their faculty mentor, the AOC faculty director, and the IRB prior to initiating data collection for a capstone project; the AOC faculty lead will also advise students on related approvals that must be obtained prior to initiating their project
  • In order to be considered for AOC recognition at senior honors day, completed capstone projects must be submitted to the AOC faculty director no later than March 30 of the M4 year.


Course Descriptions:

Foundational AOC Electives

  • Foundation: Medical Education (June-July, 6 weeks) – This course takes students through training in the science of medical education, theoretical frameworks and principles.  The instructional material is presented in a multidisciplinary format to foster the study of learning styles, educational theories and self-reflection; application of these concepts to classroom and patient care settings; acquisition of teaching skills and participation in experiential opportunities. 
    • Course Delivery: Online Course – Asynchronous Lectures, Weekly Discussion Posts and Assignments
  • Foundation: Introduction to Clinical Ethics (February-May) – This course will provide in-depth examination of various aspects of clinical ethics. It will give students theoretical and practical illustrations of ethical concepts in order to prepare them to engage in self-motivated research in clinical ethics. By the end of the course, students should be able to: 1) appreciate the historical development of clinical ethics as well as the ethics of certain social issues that relate to health care; 2) explain how both medicine and ethical values influence the medical profession in practice; 3) provide examples of how to recognize when those influences can cause unethical repercussions and how one can mitigate their effects; 4) describe how one can justify and reinforce ethical choices when faced with moral challenges.
    • Course Delivery: Online Course – Asynchronous Lectures, Weekly Discussion Posts and Assignments
  • Foundation: Medical Research (June-July, 6 weeks) – This course introduces medical students to the essential elements of translating a basic or clinical observation into meaningful scientific results that may have a direct and positive impact on current clinical practice. The course begins with defining a research question and ends with strategies for successfully publishing the resulting manuscript and obtaining research grant support. 
    • Course Delivery: Online Course – Asynchronous Lectures, Weekly Discussion Posts and Assignments
  • Foundation: Global and Population Health (June-August, 13 weeks) – This course will study a variety of approaches to the study of population health and will introduce students to key concepts and methodologies as well as the possibility of integrating these concepts and methodologies into clinical practice. 
    • Course Delivery: Online Course – Asynchronous Lectures, Weekly Discussion Posts and Assignments
  • Foundation: Children’s Environmental Health:  The AOC in Children’s Environmental Health is a longitudinal educational program to provide enriched opportunities in core facets of academic children’s environmental health: educational experiences, clinical consultation, community advocacy and environmental research. The overall goal of the summer program is provide students with a strong foundational knowledge in pediatric environmental health and academic medicine through educational programs, advocacy activities, direct clinical care, and research.
    • Course Delivery: Combination of in-person and online educational activities  including synchronous lectures, weekly discussions, clinical assignments, research and advocacy.  
  • Foundation: Nutrition and Culinary Medicine:  The need for prevention and new forms of disease management continues to grow throughout the U.S. healthcare system. In order to address this, the AOC in Culinary Medicine aims to increase the number of future physicians graduating from the NYMC SOM with a foundation, understanding, and the necessary skills to deliver nutrition integrated care to their patients that is both evidence-based and culturally competent, regardless of specialty.  This course will provide students with a broad background in the principles of nutrition and culinary medicine; an introduction to weight management, portion control; and the principal biological, physiological, and environmental factors that alter nutritional needs and influence dietary intake at each stage of the life cycle.
    • Course Delivery: Online Course – Asynchronous Lectures, Weekly Discussion Posts and Assignments


Advanced Electives for AOC:

  1. Advanced: Medical Education: Teaching is a critical skill for all physicians and is a satisfying way to solidify your own knowledge. The advanced medical education elective provides senior medical students with an opportunity to refine their teaching skills, based on best practices and demonstrate these skills in various teaching venues at NYMC. Interested students will also have the opportunity to learn about, develop, and facilitate various methodologies of simulation and clinical skills assessments.

2. Advanced Ethics 

a. Ethics at End of Life: This course will be a fully interactive online course composed of eight modules encompassing Futility, the Right to Refuse Treatment, Death with Dignity, Palliative Care, Pediatric End-of-Life Care, and Severe Neurologic Impairment. Each module will have presentations, readings, asynchronous discussion boards, and assignments. While the readings and presentations can be done at any time, active work will be required over an eight- week period, from November through December (Blocks 5 and 6), coinciding with peak interview season. This work will be in the form of weekly discussion boards with faculty and students, as well as weekly written assignments.

b. Medical Malpractice (with Touro Law School): This course is an interprofessional, longitudinal online elective offered jointly between New York Medical College School of Medicine and Touro Law Center, enrolling both law students and medical students. It explores introductory medical malpractice concepts and issues related to medical malpractice trials. This course has both asynchronous online sessions and several live evening sessions culminating in a portion of a mock medical malpractice trial. This course will examine aspects of medical malpractice, patient safety, quality regulation, as well as professional expectations and standards of care as they relate to the medical profession from a legal as well as ethical perspective. By combining both medical and law students in one course students will gain the perspective of both professions. Medical and law students will be more fully informed as to the process of medical malpractice.

3. Advanced: Research Elective: During this course, students will continue work on their scholarly concentration project with a previously identified research mentor. It is expected that students dedicate full-time (at least 35 hours/week) effort to research for a minimum of four weeks during this elective and submit a progress report at the end. The capstone project will consist of either A) a peer-reviewed manuscript that, at minimum, has been accepted for publication pending minor revisions, or B) a peer-reviewed abstract that has been presented by the student as a poster or podium talk at a professional conference. 

4. Advanced: Global and Population Health

a. Cultural Humility: This advanced elective is designed to introduce students to cultural characteristics that can influence the delivery of health care and ultimately improve the level of student’s cultural humility and their physician-patient therapeutic relationships. Through a series of assigned readings, online cultural competency training program, and written assignments the student will achieve the elective’s goals and objectives.

b. Global Health Practicum: CURRENTLY ON PAUSE DUE TO COVID

5. Children’s Environmental Health: In Development  – To be launched Spring/ Summer 2022

6. Culinary Medicine: In Development – To be launched Spring/ Summer 2022