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Year 4 Electives

Year 4 Selectives


Addicition and Pain Management

Faculty: Dr. Kevin Zacharoff

Objective:  After completion of the 2-week elective, the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the basics of chronic pain, including the pathophysiology of pain
  • Describe the DEA Controlled Substances Act and drug schedules
  • Describe the current public health crisis surrounding opioid analgesics and opioid-related overdoses and overdose deaths
  • Describe the process of risk stratification for aberrant drug-related behaviors for patients considered to be candidates for opioid analgesic therapy 
  • Demonstrate and identify optimal clinical interpersonal skills to help mitigate potential bias and stigma associated with pain and addiction 
  • Recognize coincident comorbidities in patients with pain and addiction
  • Describe criteria for the safe, effective, and appropriate use of opioid analgesics for the management of acute and chronic pain 
  • Identify special pain patient populations (e.g., cancer vs. non-cancer, elderly, pediatric, pregnant/nursing mothers) and relevant clinical implications regarding pain management and non-medical substance use 
  • Formulate a pain treatment plan incorporating multidisciplinary approaches including, but not limited to pharmacological, procedural, complementary/alternative medicine, and cognitive, emotional, and physical therapies 
  • Evaluate signs and symptoms of withdrawal and be familiar with withdrawal management, management of opioid use disorder, and identify resources that are available to clinicians 
  • Describe the legal and regulatory context of opioid prescribing and various guidelines that are used to guide clinical practice with these medications 
  • Identify the strategies that incorporate understanding about balancing both individual and societal benefits and risks of opioid use for the treatment of pain 
Medicine in Contemporary Society (MCS) 4- Independent Project

Faculty:  Dr. Stephen Post


MCS 4 gives students an opportunity to expand their knowledge of ethical, social, cultural, and humanistic issues in medicine in a manner reflective of their own career choices and particular interests. MCS 4 focuses on mastery of knowledge and attitudes related especially to the following core competencies: professionalism and ethics, communication, self-awareness, social context of medical care, and health care systems.

  1. To enable students in Phase Three who wish to do a research elective in medical humanities and ethics to focus in on a carefully delineated project for two weeks
  2. To produce thoughtful written deliverables that are of high quality conceputally and well-informed by the literature
  3. To encourage continuity with MCS themese from Phase One and Reflection Themes from Phase Two


You may work with a faculty member from the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics for an elective period (2 weeks) or during the course of the year (July 1-March 31) on a project. 

Each student decides on a project or area of study consistent with the Center's theme of Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care and Bioethics. 

Students must identify a project prior to contacting:
Stephen Post, PhD (course director) with a proposal including:

  1. Project title
  2. Project description (2 pages)
  3. Detailed work plan/timeline
  4. Proposed final product (1 page)
  5. The final project requires a 7-10 page paper

Students will be graded on their final paper and will follow the standard range Pass/Fail for 2 weeks using the standard evaluation form. Student papers will receive written comments.

Preparation of research clear questions and approach to literature 10%
Meetings for discussion with faculty mentor 30%
Written deliverable 60%

Dr. Post, will review the proposal and facilitate selecting a Center faculty mentor.

Addiction and Pain 

Faculty:  Dr. Kevin Zacharoff & Dr. Richard Rosenthal

Course goals: During the 4 week selective, the student will:

  • Describe the current public health crisis surrounding opioids
  • Explain the neurobiological basis of addiction including specific differences between opioids and other substances
  • Explain the pathophysiology of pain and the biopsychosocial intersection of pain and addiction
  • Describe the risk stratification of patients, expectation management, patient education, and factors that influence patient adherence
  • Recognize comorbidities that patients with pain and addiction have
  • Identify the special populations (cancer vs. non-cancer pain, elderly populations, NAS, pregnant population) that deal with pain and addiction
  • Evaluate the adverse effects of long term opioid use
  • Evaluate signs and symptoms of withdrawal and be familiar with withdrawal management
  • Formulate management plans including current treatments for opioid use disorder and resources that are available to clinicians (allocation of resources, referrals, appropriate use of resources)
  • Describe the legal and regulatory context of opioids and other substances as well as various (and sometimes differing) guidelines that are used in clinical practice
  • Explain the rehabilitation of pain
  • Formulate multidisciplinary approaches to pain including, but not limited to: pharmacological, procedural, complementary/alternative medicine, and cognitive, emotional, and physical therapies
  • Demonstrate physician interpersonal skills and about the stigma associated with pain/addiction
  • Provide compassionate, non-judgmental, and interprofessional treatment (clinical pharmacology, social work, nursing, etc.)
Cultivating Compassion in Medicine: How healthcare professionals can build compassion toolkits

Faculty:  Dr. Stephen Post & Dr. Krisha Mehta

Description:  Compassionate care makes a measurable difference in patient experience and outcomes, and enhances clinician meaning, resilience and well-being. Research has also shown that such compassion can be trained using evidence-based meditative and visualization practices. This course will focus on learning how to translate conceptual compassion into practical tools for medical trainees. The class will learn and practice compassion building exercises and subsequently participate in group discussion based on thematic questions about those exercises and experiences. There are assigned readings on the science and evidence-based nature of these exercises and there are weekly written reflection to allow students to gain insight into how to use and apply the tools they learn in class in clinical practice. This course will help students to understand how evidence-based resources can be used to build compassion toolkits for healthcare professionals.

Law and Medicine: New York Jurisprudence and Medical students

Faculty:  Arthur Diamond, JD

Objectives: During the 4 week selective, the student will:

  • Acquire insight into how the legal system views the delivery of 'equitable' care to patients through case law and statue interpretation.
  • Discuss about basic legal principles in delivering health care
  • Recognize how the legal system directly and indirectly intersects with medical under New York law.
  • Discuss how ethics considerations may have legal implications
  • Recognize how law may have an impact upon student's judgment in analyzing and deciding plan of care
  • Discuss how hospital and doctor error may often lead to lawsuits
  • By seeing actual cases reflecting such incidents should enable students to become aware of potential errors and how the law deals with them and how to avoid then same in the future