About the Department of Pharmacology


Almost every practicing physician prescribes drugs; most write many prescriptions every day. The learning of pharmacology, the science that deals with the action and use of drugs, is among the most important steps in becoming a physician. Rather than reflexely ordering a medication to treat a specific symptom or disease, modern therapeutics require an understanding of the underlying mechanism of action of a pharmacologic agent, how it influences and is influenced by the disease for which it is prescribed and its capacity for causing both beneficial and harmful clinical effects. Pharmacology is uniquely positioned among the biomedical sciences. It depends on and contributes to genetics, biochemistry, cell biology, organ physiology and clinical medicine. Similarly, pharmacology occurs at a critical juncture in the medical curriculum, after completion of most of the basal science courses but before intense clinical experiences have begun. At this vital point in their education, most students are anxious to begin to apply their knowledge of science to clinical medicine. Pharmacology is taught at the levels of the second and third years as part of the integrated system modules; and as a separate core course.