Medical Students

Clinical Continuum

Open AllClose All
  Course Goals

Throughout your first and second year, the Clinical Continuum will provide a sequence of learning activities to support your professional growth. Clinical Continuum skills will be useful in integrating material from your basic science courses into your understanding of health, disease, and medical care. The overall goal is to prepare you to assume responsibility in the care of patients during your clinical rotations.

  Components of the M1 Clinical Continuum

Mentor Program (October - May)
This part of the Clinical Continuum provides you with some relevant clinical experience. You will be assigned to a physician in the greater Milwaukee area for a monthly, three-hour, clinical office experience. With your Mentor, you will have an opportunity to observe and participate in real patient care situations. The relationship with your Mentor also supports your professional socialization and development. (Traditional Mentor program).

A select group of students will participate in a special geriatrics-oriented mentor experience that includes regular meetings with Geriatrics faculty and a relationship with a healthy elderly person. (The Senior Mentor program).

Mentor Program Course Coordinator: Stephanie Shaw (414) 955-8207
Senior Mentor Program Coordinator: Shari Hagedorn (414) 955-8291

Mentor Program Director: Joan Bedinghaus MD, (414) 955-8207

Foundations of Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) (100 students October - December, 100 students January - May)
This course will introduce students to the skills needed to understand and to use new developments in medicine. Students will learn basic epidemiology concepts such as study designs, risk, causality, and statistical inference. Students will be expected to interpret and to critically evaluate reports of medical research, in order to apply them to patient care decision-making. The course will use a Team-Based Learning format. Case examples will be chosen to enhance other basic science courses or to illustrate common clinical topics likely to be encountered during the preceptor experience.

EBM Course Coordinator: Stephanie Shaw (414) 955-8207

Course Director: David Nelson, PhD, MS (414) 955-4386

Foundations of Human Behavior
This course will present the basic knowledge base about human behavior from developmental and integrated family perspectives. Learning activities will include a series of lectures during August and September. Half the class will also have Medical Interviewing and Case-Based Presentations in the first semester, and the other half will have these learning experiences in the second semester.

Course Director: Michael McBride, MD
Director of Medical student Education: Carol Ping Tsao, MD
Course Coordinator: Kristine James(414) 955-8992

Coordinator of Medical Interviewing sessions: Stephanie Shaw (414) 955-8207
Director of Medical Interviewing sessions: Joan Bedinghaus, MD (414) 955-8252

  Components of the M2 Clinical Continuum

The Clinical Continuum continues through the M2 year with the following courses:

Clinical Examination and Reasoning: This course focuses on physical exam techniques, system by system with patient demonstrations, followed by four precepted complete histories and physicals. The course also includes small group discussions focusing on oral case presentation, clinical reasoning, and other skills.

Course Coordinator: Kristin Costello, (414) 805-0527
Course Director: Kim Stoner, MD, (414) 805-0826

Medical Ethics and Palliative Care: Through a combination of lectures, panel discussions, and small-group case-oriented instruction, students are presented with a practical introduction to the current body of ethical and legal foundations of the practice of medicine. Students learn to address a number of challenging ethical issues drawn from clinical practice.

Course Coordinator: Mary Olson, (414) 955-8692
Course Director: Arthur Derse, MD (414) 955-8582

Health Policy: This course will introduce students to key issues in health policy including determinants of health, organization and financing of the health care system, medical-legal aspects of healthcare, disparities in health and health care, and how physicians (and medical students) can influence health policy.

Course Coordinator: Cindy Schmitz, (414) 955-4517
Course Director: Elaine Drew, PhD, (414) 955-4437


Most of the learning in the Clinical Continuum involves the development of certain attitudes and skills. Since practice is an important element in the development of any skill, several portions of the Continuum require attendance.

Attendance is required at all small group learning sessions, case-based presentations, and Mentor visits. Unexcused absences are unacceptable breaches of professional responsibility and will be considered a failure for that experience. Timely communications about absence-causing personal emergencies are expected. Contact your small group teacher or the course coordinator.

The mentor visits are an academic requirement and must be completed during the academic year. They cannot be "made up" in the summer. Students are responsible for reporting problems with scheduling mentor visits to the Continuum Office in time for possible alternatives to be arranged.


Students receive a grade for each component course as well as an overall Clinical Continuum grade each year. Students must receive at least a passing grade in each component course to pass the Clinical Continuum. Each component course explains its grading criteria in its syllabus.

M1: 33% comes from EBM, 33% from FHB, and 34% from the Mentor experience.
M2: 55% CER, 35% Ethics and Palliative Medicine, 10% Health Policy.

A Fail in any of the components results in a Fail for the entire Clinical Continuum.


  How is Clinical Continuum graded?

Each academic year, you will receive a grade for each of the components listed above and an overall grade for the Continuum. The overall grade is a weighted average of the components. A failing grade in any of the listed components will result in a failing grade for the Continuum as a whole.

  Which courses make up the Clinical Continuum?

In the M1 year: Foundations of Human Behavior (includes Interviewing) 33%
Foundations of Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) 33%
Mentor Course 34%

In the M2 year: Ethics and Palliative Medicine (35%)
Clinical Examination and Reasoning (55%)
Health Policy (10%)

Contacting Our Office

The Clinical Continuum office is located in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, in the Curative Rehabilitation Services Building in the northwest corner of the 1st floor. By phone, you can reach Dr. Bedinghaus and Stephanie Shaw at (414) 955-8207. Our email addresses are and

Kristine James, the Foundations of Human Behavior Coordinator, is located in the Department of Psychiatry, in the Tosa Center, 1155 N. Mayfair Rd., Room 3855D. You can reach her at (414) 955-8992 or