Division of Nephrology

Renal Course

Course Director:
Heather Morris, MD

Course Objectives:
The overall goal of The Body in Health and in Disease (BHD) Renal Physiology/ Pathophysiology course for medical students at Columbia P&S is to present the fundamental principles underlying normal and abnormal function of the kidney and urinary tract. Kidney disease is both a cause and consequence of dysfunction in many organ systems, so any discussion of renal disorders will require consideration of whole organismal physiology.  Students will learn about a wide array of topics: normal physiology and development of the urinary tract, intrinsic and extrinsic causes of kidney failure (including molecular and genetic mechanisms) and finally classic pathophysiologic states that produce perturbations of renal homeostatic mechanisms. At end of this section, students will have a much better appreciation of the integrative functions of the human body.

Course Content:
Case discussions will review and apply the information covered in the lectures through common clinical scenarios and classic renal pathophysiologic states. The majority of questions will be discussed in the preceptor-led format, but students are expected to discuss one question per session using the student-led format.  Preceptors also facilitate small group sessions done in the Team-Based Learning (TBL) format, designed to help students apply and test their knowledge of the subject matter and build team-working skills. Towards the end of the course, our faculty members organize small group sessions that cover advanced topics in nephrology.  Following case discussions, faculty members present novel or experimental methods that are being developed to address clinical problems. These sessions serve as a review in preparation for the exam, and at the same time, students catch a glimpse of future developments in the field, based on research conducted by Nephrology faculty at Columbia. Finally, throughout the course, students are encouraged to attend special teaching sessions on the hospital wards where faculty integrate core concepts in renal physiology/pathophysiology with clinical cases.