I chose to pursue the forensic biology concentration for my second year as a biomedical student at PCOM. Thus far, the classes have provided me the opportunity to expand on the anatomy and physiology that I learned in my first year, but with specific focus on how the information can correlate in a forensic/medico-legal setting. The year is broken into trimesters and an additional capstone summer semester which allows the student to focus his or her attention on researching and writing a paper which relates to a topic within the realm of forensic science.
The first trimester of the second year was all pathology. Over these months, we covered a broad range of disease ranging from dermatopathology to renal pathology. Every system of the body was covered, and we were given information on how each given pathology occurred, appeared in a clinical setting and treatment options. The class felt very akin to the first year biomedicine classes in that the information was very dense, and we had to keep on top of our studies in order to not fall behind. Although the hours of study added up quickly, I still found the time to work close to full time at my job to continue paying the bills. The class schedule- one to two weekends a month- is very friendly to those that have jobs outside of school, but time management is crucial.
Aside from studying course material during the pathology trimester, we were also assigned several forensic medicine journal articles per class to review. After reading and analyzing the articles, we would compose a summary paper critiquing the article. I felt this allowed me to digest the material in active way since I was expected to form my own views and opinions on each respective author's research. The information/research in each of the articles was chosen to run parallel with the course material being taught. I felt this aspect exponentially enhanced our course by adding real-world depth to what we were learning in class.
My next blog will summarize my experience within the second trimester of the forensic biology year: Forensic Medicine II.