Welcome to the Department of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. The Boston University Medical Campus contains the Boston Medical Center and Boston University Schools of Medicine, Public Health, and Dental Medicine. The Department of Medicine is affiliated with our two principal teaching hospitals, Boston Medical Center and the VA Boston Healthcare System.
The faculty of the Department of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine are unified by an unflinching commitment to excellence, professionalism, service, and discovery. We believe that our success as a department is dependent upon exceptional achievement in each of our core missions of research, clinical care, and education.
Faculty: The Department of Medicine contains 373 full-time faculty including 106 faculty with a PhD. Of the total, 45% are associate or full professors, 40% are women, and 8% are underrepresented minorities.
The department’s clinical programs provide a full range of clinical services to an extraordinarily diverse patient population from within Boston as well as the greater New England region. The clinical services have a distinguished history of providing care to vulnerable patient populations as well as tertiary care. Several of the department’s clinical programs (e.g., amyloid program, nutrition and weight management, scleroderma unit, vasculitis unit, pulmonary hypertension program, cardiomyopathy, and others) draw patients from throughout the world. The integration of the department’s compelling social mission with a rigorous academic tradition creates an especially rich environment for patient care, training, and discovery.
The department’s clinical programs have grown remarkably over the past three years. During the 2008–2009 academic year, as an example, total ambulatory visits (251,000) increased by 8% while the number of new patient ambulatory visits increased by 23%. The department’s faculty increased WRVUs (Work Relative Value Units) by 16% over the preceding year and by 31% compared to 2006–2007. The inpatient volume on the medical service increased by 2% relative to 2007–2008 to over 14,000 discharges. The department’s clinical programs are a critical part of the success of Boston Medical Center in meeting the patient care needs of our community. Remarkably, the ambulatory clinics at Boston Medical Center have the largest visit volume of any of the academic medical centers in Boston and Boston Medical Center is one of the most rapidly growing hospitals in the city as measured by percent increase in discharges over the past five years.
The department’s world-class research programs foster a spirit of inquiry in the department’s clinical and educational programs, and bring new preventive, diagnostic, and treatment modalities to our patient population. These programs derive from a rich tradition of mentorship and critical thinking, and are fostered by a supportive and collegial environment that encourages faculty and trainees to work and learn collaboratively. In the 2008–2009 academic year, the department’s faculty and trainees secured $114.1 million in research funds from governmental and private agencies, an increase of 21.4% compared to 2007–2008. These figures do not include the funding of the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories ($12.25 million in 2008–2009) or of faculty based at the VA Boston Healthcare System or Roger Williams Medical Center. The department’s funding from the National Institutes of Health is in the very top tier of research-intensive departments of medicine in the United States.
The department has internationally renowned research programs in a number of areas. Examples include cardiovascular biology, pulmonary inflammation and immunology, obesity, androgen biochemistry and biology, diabetes, arthritis, alcohol/substance abuse, genetics and genomics, obesity, cancer biology, clinical epidemiology, amyloidosis, vasculitis, HIV/AIDS, medical informatics, renal glomerular disorders, geriatrics, and sickle cell disease. The most important longitudinal study of cardiac risk factors ever conducted—the Framingham Heart Study—is based at Boston University and is strongly supported by investigators in the Department of Medicine. The National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories, funded by NIH, Boston University, and Boston Medical Center, opened in late 2011. This 200,000 sq. ft. research center attracted 20 research teams to conduct research on emerging infectious diseases and contains state-of-the-art biocontainment facilities (Biosafety Level 4). This center has already successfully recruited several world-class investigators into many departments, including the Department of Medicine, and will provide extraordinary opportunities for collaborative research in infectious diseases. Department faculty recently received a large award from the National Institute on Aging to establish the Boston Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center. In addition, the department has recently established the Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research to provide resources and infrastructure for faculty to work in multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary teams that create new approaches to the discovery process.
The department’s educational programs have a long-standing tradition of training national leaders in discovery, clinical care, and medical education. The present faculty enthusiastically embrace this tradition and are eager to promote the development of the next generation of leaders in medicine. The current educational programs include a medical residency program totaling 156 residents, 16% of whom have an advanced graduate degree. The residency program also includes a primary care training program funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration. We are particularly proud that this year’s intern class contains 17% underrepresented minorities. In addition to our residency training program, the department’s education programs include a PhD program in molecular medicine and a long-standing successful program in Continuing Medical Education. The goals of the department’s educational programs are to attract the most outstanding trainees, enforce rigorous standards of achievement, develop a learning environment and individualized programs of study that help trainees reach their full potential, and to create an exemplary mixture of professionalism, service, and integrity.
Medical Student Education
The Department of Medicine plays a central role In educating students throughout the four-year BUSM curriculum. Medicine faculty promote the development of foundational communications and physical diagnosis skills while providing much of the instruction in Introduction to Clinical Medicine 1 and 2. The department also delivers the Diagnosis and Therapeutic Course in year 2 that provides a strong conceptual approach and knowledge necessary to ready students for clinical work.
During the Medicine 1 Clerkship taken during year 3, students learn clinical medicine while working side-by-side with residents and faculty in providing care to a cohort of inpatients. A key principle that guides student learning throughout the department’s offerings, is to provide graduated responsibility with supervision. Medicine 1 introduces the clinical tools and perspectives of the internist that are appropriate to the “undifferentiated” medical student. This learning experience is complemented by a unique enrichment in which students also work closely in small groups with a Clerkship Director and hone essential clinical skills (including intermediate-level communications skills, physical diagnosis, and clinical reasoning).
Advanced medical topics and skills are addressed during the fourth year of the curriculum. Medicine 2 provides outpatient learning opportunities that are supplemented by enrichment sessions in communications skills, clinical reasoning, and evidence-based medicine. This clerkship also aims to provide a bridge to internship by addressing interdisciplinary topics and clinical issues relevant to students entering any specialty.
The subinternship in Medicine is a hands-on, capstone inpatient rotation that prepares students for the challenges of internship. Students are given additional clinical responsibility in patient care while under close supervision. The Advanced Acting Internship (AAI), also known as the “Super Sub,” builds upon, and is a more intensive version of the traditional subinternship. Two AAI students are paired on an inpatient team that has one fewer intern than a traditional team, and together are expected to fulfill the role of one intern.
Finally, students enroll in the department’s many fourth-year electives where they develop a more focused knowledge and clinical skill set in general internal medicine or one of the discipline’s sub-specialties.