Thread Directors


Jessica Santucci, DPT email

An exploration of the structure and function of the human body through a series of 15 regional dissections using a collaborative team based approach.



David Pallas. PhD email

The Biochemistry Thread integrates medical biochemistry into the various topics of the Foundations curriculum to help students understand 1) normal functions critical for maintaining a healthy human body, 2) molecular bases for diseases, and 3) mechanisms of action of therapeutics. The goal is for students to be able to apply this knowledge in their clinical practice as cutting edge physicians.


Clinical Decision Making

Joshua Wallenstein, MD email

Anna Von, MD email

Clinical Reasoning is the process by which physicians collect and process information, understand the patient’s situation, implement testing and interventions, and evaluate outcomes.  The Clinical Reasoning thread at Emory is tightly woven into problem-based learning and the small group learning environment, and also intersects with the Essentials of Patient Care (EPC) curriculum.  The goal of the thread is to prepare students to make informed clinical decisions as they enter clinical training. 



Gerald Lee, MD email

John Altman, PhD email

This thread will review the components and functions of the immune system as a foundation to applied to the pathophysiology of infections, autoimmunity, immunodeficiency, therapeutics, and human diseases.


Varun Phadke, MD email

Microbiology is a longitudinal course that spans much of the Foundations Curriculum. Content areas include core basic science concepts in microbiology and microbial pathogenesis as well as clinical infectious diseases, including a syndromic approach to the diagnosis, evaluation, and management of suspected and confirmed infections, and principles of antimicrobial therapy.



Stewart Neill, MD email

The Pathology thread is present within the majority of the Foundations curriculum and is taught by several clinical faculty based primarily within the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine. Our goal is to aid students in the classification and description of disease processes throughout the body utilizing a variety of clinical and laboratory-based modalities, including but not limited to gross and microscopic morphology.


Alaina Steck, MD email

Throughout the Foundations phase, within disease-specific contexts, this thread covers the pharmacodynamics (what drugs do to the body) and pharmacokinetics (what the body does to drugs) of the most used therapeutic classes. 

Physiology and Pathophysiology

Inyeong Choi, PhD email


Clerkship Directors

Adult Primary Care

Eva Rimler, MD email

Ryan Smith, MD email

Students are assigned to one adult primary care practice for six weeks. The other six weeks are split between a pediatric primary care office (Ambulatory Care Block/Pediatric Primary Care, credit, 3 hours), and outpatient subspecialties in dermatology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, otolaryngology, palliative care, and urology. Students work up one to four patients in each half-day session focusing on health promotion, disease prevention, and acute and chronic disease management in the ambulatory setting. Additionally, students participate in a Quality Improvement (QI) curriculum which includes developing a QI project for one of their primary care practices, and weekly seminars and workshops related to primary care and subspecialty topics. 


Joanna Schindler, MD email

This clerkship is a basic introduction to the principles and techniques involved in the care of the perioperative patient. An anesthesiologist assists the student in discovering the techniques and principles of basic life support including airway management, maintenance of cardiopulmonary stability, and intensive monitoring. The student shall acquire an appreciation of the needs of the acutely ill patient and the role of the anesthesiologist in their care. Students also participate in morning/afternoon conferences and a case-based problem set discussion. 

Critical Care

Lisa Daniels, MD email

Nicole Paige Herbst, MD email

Critical care is a 4-week required clerkship in the Application Phase of medical school, proving students with exposure to a wide range of critically ill patients. Students spend 4 weeks in an intensive care unit as a member of the critical care team at either Emory University Hospital (EUH), Egleston, Emory University Hospital Midtown (EUHM), the Atlanta Veterans Administration Medical Center (VAMC), Grady Memorial Hospital (GMH) or Emory St. Joseph's Hospital (ESJ). Students also participate in additional curriculum including Society of Critical Care Medicine’s standardized Fundamental Critical Care Support (FCCS) course, simulation exercises in the Emory Center for Experiential Learning (ExCEL), and experiences addressing ethical issues encountered in intensive care practice.


Jamie MacKelfresh, MD email

The Dermatology Clerkship is a one week required course that builds on the basic dermatologic principles taught in the Skin Muscle Bone and Joint course taught in the Foundation Phase. Those principles are applied during the actual evaluation and care of patients with skin diseases. Students work alongside faculty assessing patients in the dermatology ambulatory care clinics, primarily at The Emory Clinic & occasionally at Grady Memorial Hospital or the Atlanta VAMC.

Emergency Medicine

Meghan Henn, MD email

Steven Lindsey, MD email

Emergency Medicine is a 4-week, required rotation in the Translation Phase. Students will have an opportunity to participate in the care of patients presenting to high volume, inner city emergency department with a wide variety of medical and traumatic illnesses. Each student will function as a sub-intern, working closely with Emergency Medicine residents and faculty. Each student will have the opportunity to participate as a third rider with Grady EMS.

Internal Medicine

Varun Phadke, MD email

Audrey Jernigan, MD email

Students spend eight weeks rotating on the general medicine wards. Each student collects the database, formulates the problem list, draws up the initial plans, and follows each patient in a problem-oriented fashion. Student goals are to learn how to collect data, identify and define individual problems, separate multifarious problems into their individual components and clarify their relationships to each other, and organize problems and follow them systematically through to their resolution. Students attend frequent conferences where patients are presented and discussed by members of the teaching staff. Conferences extend throughout the field of internal medicine and its subspecialties. 

Medicine Sub-Internship

John Pittman, MD email

The Sub-Internship is a required, graded rotation in the Translations Phase of medical school, and may be done in the disciplines of Surgery, Medicine or Pediatrics. During this 4-week rotation completed at Grady Hospital, students will take on a higher level of responsibility and function just like an intern with support from the resident. Students will sharpen data collection skills, deepen clinical reasoning, and practice hospital skills. The ensuant responsibilities students will assume are an invaluable practice and maturing experience that will accelerate their growth toward being an intern. 


Taylor Harrison, MD email

This rotation is required of all medical students and is taken during the Application phase of the curriculum. The student receives two two-week assignments to rotate at two of the following: to Grady Hospital, Emory University Hospital - Main Campus, Emory University Hospital - Midtown, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, The Emory Clinic, Wesley Woods, and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.


Megan Lawley, MD email

Sejal Tamakuwala, MD email

This six-week clerkship is divided into rotations in labor and delivery, gynecology, and outpatient experience. Students are involved in all aspects of patient care. They are responsible for making rounds and writing notes under the supervision of the house staff, attending assigned clinics, and participating in the activities of the operating and delivery rooms.


Emily Graubart, MD email

The Ophthalmology Clerkship introduces each student to the field of ophthalmology. The clerkship emphasizes the examination and evaluation of common eye disease, and it is designed to provide exposure to the various subspecialties within the field while increasing the ophthalmic knowledge base of each student. The clerkship involves participation in ambulatory clinical and surgical settings while emphasizing opportunities for self-directed learning based on the ophthalmic diseases encountered in these settings.

Palliative Medicine

Ashima Lal, MD email

Jimi Malik, MD email

Palliative Medicine is one of the newest subspecialties of medicine and is the physical, spiritual, psychological and social aspect of caring for patients and families from diagnosis to death or cure of a life threatening or serious illness. Palliative Medicine is practiced in an interdisciplinary team and is then called Palliative Care. The core skill focus of palliative medicine includes: pain and non-pain symptom management, advance care planning, risk-burden assessments, communication of serious illness, prognostication, spiritual assessment, psychosocial assessment, ethics and care at the end of life (to include hospice eligibility and management). The unit of care is the patient, family, and caregivers. Palliative Care is appropriate at any stage of illness. Students will participate directly in consultation as well as family meetings with a focus on communication skills training and will be an active member of the interdisciplinary team while on rotation. The interdisciplinary care team will work together to help patient and families across their continuum of illness.


Rebecca Philipsborn, MD email

This six-week clerkship is divided into rotations in labor and delivery, gynecology, and outpatient experience. Students are involved in all aspects of patient care. They are responsible for making rounds and writing notes under the supervision of the house staff, attending assigned clinics, and participating in the activities of the operating and delivery rooms. In addition to this clinical experience, there is a structured didactic curriculum that includes departmental weekly conferences, skills practicum, lectures, debates, and web based instruction. 

Pediatrics Sub-Internship

Maya Eady McCarthy, MD email

The Sub-Internship is a required, graded rotation in the Translations Phase of medical school, and may be done in the disciplines of Surgery, Medicine or Pediatrics. The fourth year Pediatric Sub-Internship presents first opportunities to be the primary direct caregiver to patients. This is a four week time frame on the general Pediatric wards at Egleston and occasionally Hughes Spalding. Through direct patient care, students will fine-tune their history gathering and physical exam skills, further develop their patient/family-clinician interaction style and learn much about pediatric conditions. Students will have opportunities to perform admission histories and physicals and to write admissions orders. In addition they will be given new patients admitted by the night float team to take as their own. Students will follow their patients daily until discharge. 


Jeff Rakofsky, MD email

The emphasis on this clerkship is the clinical application of principles of psychiatry learned in the first two years. Clinical responsibilities include obtaining admission history and physical examinations, formulating psychodynamic aspects of the case, psychiatric differential diagnosis, and actively participating in the psychotherapeutic and the psychopharmacologic management of patient treatment. Students attend and participate in rounds and ward teaching conferences as well. A lecture series covers major clinical aspects of the diagnosis and treatment of major psychiatric disorders including the anxiety disorders, depression, dementia, delirium, personality disorders, psychopharmacology, psychiatric emergencies and schizophrenia. 


Smyrna Tuburan, MD email

Andres Su, MD email

This is a 2-credit "virtual" radiology course integrated into the seven free standing clerkships during the Applications phase of the UME curriculum. The radiology presentations have been tailored to emphasize imaging features of diseases and conditions that students will encounter in the hospital wards and in clinic during the rotation the student is on. The virtual clerkship is structured as an introduction to the fundamentals of Radiology, including basics of Chest X-ray interpretation, recognition of 22 life or limb threatening imaging findings and principles of diagnostic testing. 


Joshua Winer, MD email

Barbara Pettitt, MD email

Students are assigned to 4 weeks of a general adult or pediatric surgery service and 2 weeks each of two surgical subspecialties. Assignments to these rotations are determined by preference sheets sent into the Clerkship Coordinator before the clerkship begins.

Students serve as junior members of the surgical teams with responsibility for patient care and the opportunity to assist and practice skills in the operating room. Students are responsible for doing the history and physical examination of patients assigned to them and work closely with the faculty and resident staff in determining necessary preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative care.  

Students are assigned to small groups that meet bi-weekly with a Faculty Mentor.  They are also assigned individually to an M4 Peer Mentor who serves as a coach for oral exams and questions about all things surgery. M4 Peer Mentors also give an Orientation presentation, several of the lectures in the lecture series and serve as instructors in the suture labs.

A comprehensive series of lectures are presented each week on a variety of surgical topics.  Emory ethicists and radiologists incorporate topics from those disciplines pertinent to surgery.

There are two suture labs that cover information about various techniques of suturing and knot-tying, and an advanced vascular access lab where students learn intraosseous and central venous catheter insertion on appropriate models and simulators.

Grades are based on evaluations from attending faculty and surgery resident clinical supervisors, scores on two oral examinations and the National Board of Medical Examiners Surgery Subject Examination given at the end of the rotation, and written patient summaries and patient logs.

Surgery Sub-Internship

Jonathan Meisel, MD email

The Sub-Internship is a required, graded rotation in the Translations Phase of medical school, and may be done in the disciplines of Surgery, Medicine or Pediatrics. Students will be exposed to a variety of surgical diseases, and learn the medical care of the surgical patient. Didactic and laboratory experience includes mock nurse calls and an extensive debrief, a laboratory on the fundamentals of laparoscopic surgery and mandatory check-offs on a variety of technical and cognitive skills related to the care of the surgical patient.