Foundations for Medical Communication

General Course Information

Monday 10:30 – 11:45 am

Wednesday 12:30 – 1:20 pm Thursday 12:00 – 1:15 pm

Course Description

The Foundations for Medical Communication course builds on the skills developed in the Foundations for Communication course and is intended to provide students with the foundations for the medical communication necessary for success in their academic pursuits at SGU and beyond. These skills include the development of the macro language skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) as well as micro communication skills (verbal and non-verbal), critical thinking, and cultural awareness. Students will engage with these skills by investigating and exploring different topics within a medical framework and move beyond the foundations to explore how culture, bias, race, gender identity, socioeconomic status, and other factors impact patient care in the North American health care system. Overall, students will gain confidence in their ability to communicate effectively through the language and culture of medicine.

There are three themed modules: Medical Research, Medicine and the Media, and Narrative Medicine. These modules will allow students to develop and apply language, skills, and strategies within a meaningful context. Each module culminates in a final project where students will demonstrate their mastery of the language, skills, and strategies from that module and previous modules. In addition to the three modules, students will learn and use both formal and informal medical terminology. Wednesday classes have been designated medical terminology-only days. Students are encouraged to consult the FMC Schedule frequently for weekly activities. 

This course carries 4 credits and uses a hybrid/flipped classroom approach involving both asynchronous assignments and interactive synchronous sessions.  The asynchronous assignments help to prepare for the interactive synchronous sessions. Please pay careful attention to the detailed schedule.

Student Learning Outcomes   

  • Apply academic literacy skills to complete course tasks and assignments
  • Critique medical research 
  • Analyze and critically apply information to complete course tasks and assignments
  • Create sound arguments orally, visually, and/or in writing using information compiled and synthesized from multiple sources 
  • Arrange and synthesize information from multiple sources in a logical and organized manner 
  • Use and evaluate strategies for moderating and participating in formal and informal discussions and roleplays
  • Demonstrate improved fluency and confidence in participating in formal and informal conversations and roleplays 
  • Apply the fundamentals of word parts for the appropriate interpretation and use of medical terminology
  • Use informal medical vocabulary appropriately 
  • Give and apply feedback on courses tasks and assignments  Practice self-reflection skills 

Interactive Classes 

This class meets for three classes per week online: Mondays for 75 minutes, Wednesdays for 50 minutes, and Thursdays for 75 minutes. 

20%–30% Teacher-led instruction  

70%–80% In-class individual, pair, and group assignments and tasks  DLA assignments during exam weeks

Course Instructor






Cassie Leoni               Course director                            444-4175 (ext. 3885)

 Contacting Instructor

All faculty appointments need to be made using YouCanBookMe. Use the link below to set up individual appointments with the instructor. 

The Department of Educational Services is open from 08:00–17:00 during weekdays and is closed over the weekend and on public holidays. 

The instructor will respond to emails from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (GMT-4) during weekdays. However, be aware that the instructor is not checking email all day, so do not expect an immediate response. Emails must be professionally formatted, use professional language, and include an informative subject line. Emails without an informative subject line will be regarded as spam and will not be opened for security reasons.  

SGU email is the official email communication tool for this course and the university. All correspondence received from outside email addresses will be ignored. In the event of a university-wide system crash, an assignment may be accepted from an outside email address to avoid being counted as a late submission; however, the instructor will not respond to external emails.  

Course Materials


Chabner, D.E. (2014). Medical Terminology: A Short Course (7th ed./8th ed.*). Maryland Heights, MO: Elsevier.

*You may purchase either the 7th or 8th edition. There is no significant difference in the editions. Please purchase what is available to you. Depending on your location, you may not have access to Vital Source. SGU’s library has a list of alternate sources for purchasing the eBook.

The Required textbook for FMC can be purchased and/or rented from:

If purchasing/renting the digital version:

7th edition: or  

8th edition: or  

*You can also use eBooks from other retailers. 

If purchasing the physical textbook on campus: 8th edition: SGU Bookstore 

Daily Content

All course materials, including lecture slides, handouts, additional readings, etc. will be posted in MyCourses (Sakai).

Course Components

Module Projects (45%) 

Students will complete a culminating project at the end of each of the three modules. The projects will vary. See separate guidelines and rubrics for each project, posted in MyCourses. Students will demonstrate their ability to meet the course learning outcomes and engage further with the module’s topic through the completion of these projects.   

  • Module 1: Medical Research o Poster presentation (poster and reference list)
  • Module 2: Medicine and the Media  o PSA (audio, video, or graphic and written argument) 
  • Module 3: Narrative Medicine  o Building Your Brand (narrative writing) 

Module Assignments (25%)

Students will complete various short in class and homework assignments for each module. These assignments are designed for students to practice the relevant skills developed throughout the course and build up to the culminating project for each module. They include readings, short written assignments (e.g., summaries, paraphrases, paragraphs, reflections), vocabulary development, role plays, videos, and discussions.  Module assignments are graded using the rubric below.





Completion of task

Task is thoroughly complete and submitted on time

Task is somewhat complete and submitted on time

Task is incomplete or not submitted on time

Critical engagement with task

Student response demonstrates critical engagement with the task, (e.g., it is evident student put thought and effort into task)

Student response demonstrates minimal engagement with the task (e.g., it is evident student put a bare minimum of thought and effort into task)

Student response does not demonstrate engagement with the task

Total score:  /10

Medical Terminology Quizzes (20%) 

Throughout the course, there will be an ongoing thread of medical terminology, both formal and informal. Students will take 10 quizzes on medical terminology. Students will demonstrate their mastery of medical terminology. Questions will include multiple choice, fill in the blank, and short response (both written and oral); students will be tested on meaning of words and word parts, in addition to spelling and pronunciation. See the class schedule for quiz dates and separate guidelines posted in MyCourses.  

Attendance, Participation & Professionalism (10%)

Attendance and participation are required for EMP courses.  Students can earn a maximum of 2 points per day for attendance, participation, and professionalism.


Table 2  

Course Assessments and Percentage of Grade  



Module Projects


Mod 1: Poster Presentation


Mod 2: Multimedia Project and Written Rationale


Mod 3: Narrative Medicine Project


Module Assignments


Medical Terminology Quizzes 


Mod 1: 3 quizzes

Mod 2: 5 quizzes

Mod 3: 2 quizzes




Attendance, Professionalism and Participation


Note. Students must meet the minimum academic standards for the Preclinical program and maintain the minimum WMPG. Also, students must earn a minimum of 69.5% in each EMP English course.  

Course Schedule






Module 1: Medical Research



Jan 17


Intro to Mod 1, course intro, intro to medical research


Jan 19


Medical terminology building blocks

Diagnostic reflection

Jan 20


Reading medical research articles

Summary & synthesis:

review & pract.





Poster presentation brainstorm & poster peer feedback




Jan 24


Synthesis & research questions

Intro to critical appraisals quiz & research database assign.

Jan 26


Research Question Workshop


Jan 27


Research Question Pitch

Poster Presentation & poster presentation concept map




Jan 31


Paper analysis: main themes

Sample poster eval & med term quiz 1

Feb 2


Medical terminology


Feb 3


Paper analysis: intro & discussion





Feb 7-11








Feb 14


Paper, poster, & presentation

Med term quiz 2, poster & pres eval assign, poster presentation paper


Feb 16


Medical terminology


Feb 17


Poster Workshop





Feb 21


Poster Presentation Day

Mod 1 survey, med term quiz 3, poster pres

Module 2: Medicine and the Media



Feb 23


Medical terminology


Feb 24


Popular Science articles vs. research articles





Feb 28


Argument development

Popular Science article comparison assign & med term quiz 4




Intro to informal medical terminology





Effects of the media on medicine

“The Greys Anatomy Effect” analysis assign




Mar 7-11




Find article + analysis, PSA project update 1, med term quiz 5




Mar 14


Analyzing PSAs: part 1


Mar 16


Informal medical terminology


Mar 17


PSA project pitch





Mar 21


Analyzing PSAs: part 2

Med term quiz 6, PSA argument essay 1st Draft 

Mar 23


Informal medical terminology


Mar 24


PSA essay Workshop





Mar 28


PSA Workshop

Med term quiz 7

Mar 30


Intro to medical interview terminology



Mar 31


PSA Presentation Day

Module 2 projects




Apr 4-8




Mod 2 survey, med term quiz 8, & read Narrative Medicine project guidelines



Module 3: Narrative Medicine



Apr 11


Intro to Mod 3 & building your brand

Intro to Narrative

Writing quiz, Intro to Building Brand & PS quiz, & PS Analysis 1

Apr 13


Medical terminology for HPI


Apr 14


Narrative humility

Intro to Narrative Med assignment




Apr 18



PS Analysis 2, Narrative Med think aloud, HPI assign, & med term quiz 9

Apr 20


HPI roleplay Workshop


Apr 21


Patient stories





Apr 25


Narrative competence, humility, & bias

Implicit bias assign & med term quiz 10

Apr 27


Medical terminology roleplay


Apr 28


Course wrap-up










Narrative med projects & mod 3 survey

School of Arts and Sciences Master Syllabi — Info for All Sections

Plagiarism Policy

Academic Integrity

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

Plagiarism is regarded as a cardinal offense in academia because it constitutes theft of the work of someone else, which is then purported as the original work of the plagiarist. Plagiarism draws into disrepute the credibility of the Institution, its faculty, and students; therefore, it is not tolerated” (p. 48).

Plagiarism also includes the unintentional copying or false accreditation of work, so double check your assignments BEFORE you hand them in.

Be sure to do good, honest work, credit your sources and reference accordingly and adhere to the University’s Honor Code. Plagiarism and cheating will be dealt with very seriously following the university’s policies on Plagiarism as outlined in the Student Manual.

Your work may be subject to submission to plagiarism detection software, submission to this system means that your work automatically becomes part of that database and can be compared with the work of your classmates.

Attendance Requirement

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

Students are expected to attend all classes and or clinical rotations for which they have registered. Although attendance may not be recorded at every academic activity, attendance may be taken randomly. Students’ absence may adversely affect their academic status as specified in the grading policy. If absence from individual classes, examinations, and activities, or from the University itself is anticipated, or occurs spontaneously due to illness or other extenuating circumstances, proper notification procedures must be followed. A particular course may define additional policies regarding specific attendance or participation” (p. 9).

Examination Attendance

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

All matriculated students are expected to attend all assigned academic activities for each course currently registered. Medical excuses will be based on self-reporting by students. Students who feel they are too sick to take an examination or other required activity on a specific day must submit the online SAS medical excuse, which is available on Carenage. Students are only allowed two such excuses a year. Upon consultation with the Director of University Health Service, the third excuse will result in a mandatory medical leave of absence. The policies regarding make-up examinations are at the option of the Course Director” (p.46).

For additional specific examination policies and procedures, refer to the St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020), pages 31 through 37.

Student Accessibility and Accommodation Services Policy

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

A student with a disability or disabling condition that affects one or more major life activities, who would like to request an accommodation, must submit a completed application form and supporting documentation to the Student Accessibility and Accommodation Services (SAAS) located in the Dean of Students Office. It is highly recommended that students applying for accommodations do so at least one month before classes begin to allow for a more efficient and timely consideration of the request. If a fully completed application is not submitted in a timely fashion, an eligibility determination may not be made, and accommodations, where applicable, may not be granted prior to the commencement of classes and/or examinations” (p. 8).


It is the responsibility of the student to read and understand the policies, laws, rules and procedures that while they could affect your grade for a course, have not been specifically outlined in the course syllabus. These are contained in the St. George’s University Student Manual.