General Pathology 601 for Dental Students, 6 credit hours
May 12 - June 20, 2014

Lab Syllabus

Schedule | Faculty | ADA | Ethics | Standards | Description | Objectives | Competencies |
| Text | Attendance | Grading | Remediation | Lab Assignments | References |
Online Lab Supplements

Course Co-Directors
H. Davis Massey, DDS, MD, PhD Surgical Pathology
H. Davis Massey, DDS, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Pathology
Director of Surgical Pathology
Medical School and Residency: Medical College of Virginia
Office: (804) 828-9739; Fax: (804) 828-9749;   
Clinical Specialties: Renal, Breast, Lung, and Oral Pathology
Richard McPherson, MD

Clinical Pathology  
Richard A. McPherson, MD, Director, Immunopathology Laboratory

Harry P. Dalton Professor of Pathology
Medical School and Residency: University of California at San Diego
Fellowship: National Institutes of Health
Office: (804) 828-5389; Fax: (804) 828-6156;
Clinical Specialties: Clinical Chemistry, Microbiology, Hematology and Immunology

***Additional Teaching Faculty (listed by lecture on schedule)

The Instructor's Role
Your lab instructor's role is that of a facilitator, discussing and clarifying difficult points, defining terminology, and motivating your active involvement. For further information, clarification and to answer any questions you may have at any time about this course and its lab supplement, please contact the course Directors.

Americans with Disabilities Act Statement
"Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 require Virginia Commonwealth University to provide an 'academic adjustment' and/or a 'reasonable accommodation' to any individual who advises us of a physical or mental disability. If you have a physical or mental limitation that requires and academic adjustment or an accommodation, please arrange a meeting with us (the Assistant Dean of Students) at your earliest convenience. Additionally, if your coursework requires you to work in a lab environment, you should advise the (course director) instructor or department chairperson of any concerns you may have regarding safety issues related to your limitation(s)."

A student with a disability is encouraged to contact the Assistant Dean of Students as soon as possible to ensure appropriate and timely response to requests for accommodations. Formal identification and determination of accommodations must be made with the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities, located on the MCV campus. Click here for more information. All students wishing to receive accommodations are required to provide to the course director an official memo indicating the requested academic adjustments or accommodations. Any accommodation related to examinations must be presented to the course director at least four days prior to the examination. Request for accommodations not related to examinations must presented to the course director within two weeks of the initiation of the course.

The course is governed by the VCU Honor Code, the VCU School of Dentistry Guidelines Governing Examinations and Laboratory Assignments (available on School of Dentistry intranet), and the American Dental Association Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct (available on the American Dental Association web site or the Principles of Ethics of the American Dental Hygiene Association ( Students are responsible for understanding the content of these documents.

Technical Standards for Dental Education Programs
This document defines the nonacademic criteria for advancement through and graduation from the dental (DDS), dental hygiene (BS), or advanced dental education (certificate or degree) programs at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry. This document is available on the School of Dentistry intranet.

Course Description
This course has been designed to provide you with a practical approach to general and systemic pathology. The lectures and laboratories provide information and practice needed to develop an introductory level of proficiency in formulating differential diagnoses through the interpretation of gross and microscopic changes in various organs and their correlation with clinical, radiologic and laboratory tests.

Overall, the goals of the labs are to build your knowledge, skills and abilities in:

  1. Developing a medical vocabulary in order to converse with other health professionals.
  2. Synthesizing lecture material with clinical information, laboratory, and radiographic examinations of systemic diseases and their etiology, pathogenesis and prognosis.

Learning Objectives
Upon completion of this course you will be able to:

  1. Formulate an orderly differential diagnosis of possible causes for a patient's problem, including the correct etiology, plus the other most likely and pertinent etiologies.
  2. Prioritize the list of possible causes in your differential diagnosis based on clinical history, physical examination findings, radiographs and laboratory work. 
  3. Suggest further medical tests to help distinguish between your different diagnostic choices.
  4. Explain how this disease will affect your dental practices.
  5. Describe the basic pathogenesis of various disease entities.
  6. Recognize general medical terms utilized in pathology. 

Course Goals (competencies and their evaluation)
This course provides instruction to allow students to develop the following competencies
Competency Outcome Evaluations

Evaluation Description Competency Number(s) Evaluation Type
5 written examinations

2-25.3: competent to apply basic biological principles to clinical oral care
2-27.1: competent to manage medical emergencies

Written examination
2 Laboratory Oral Presentations of diseases entities emphasizing pathogenesis and clinicopathologic correlation
2-22: Recognize the role of life-long learning and self-assessment in maintaining competency
2-23: competent to use critical thinking and problem solving related to the comprehensive care of patients
2-24: competent to use information technology resources in contemporary dental practice
Oral examination/presentation
2 written reports to accompany Oral Presentations (involving problem solving using differential diagnosis techniques)
Written report

About the Laboratory Component of this Course
The purpose of the laboratory sessions is to stimulate you to take an active part in your learning. Each session consists of presentations of several short cases assigned to you (see below). These cases are designed to reiterate the concepts learned in the lectures with emphasis on the etiology, pathologic basis of clinical manifestations, prognosis in selected diseases. These cases help you develop a medical vocabulary in order to converse with other health professionals. 
Case web pages are available now.

Instructional Methods

  • 80% lecture
  • 20% presentations--presentations of cases by students and written documents
  • 100% total

Kumar, V. (Ed.), Cotran, R. S., Robbins, S. L. (2007). Basic Pathology (8th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders.To enhance the meaning of the lectures, the student is expected to read the pertinent text material PRIOR to the lecture. 

Attendance/Absentee Policy
Attendance is required because much of the class is interactive and discussion oriented. The following policies apply to unexcused absences and laboratory attendance:

  • 5 unexcused absences will result in lowering of the grade by one letter
  • 10 unexcused absences will result in lowering of the grade by two letters
  • 15 absences will result in failing the course
  • Failure to attend labs could result in the reduction of the cumulative course numerical score by up to 5 points

Grading Policy/Grading Scale

Letter grades are assigned according to the following schedule:
A 90-100
B 80-89.9
C 70-79.9
F below 70

Evaluation & Examinations
5 written examinations from the lecture material, laboratory cases and textbook assignments. These exams will comprise 80% of your grade. The other 20% will be from the laboratory cases assigned to you.
If the student fails to show up for an examination, a grade of zero will be given unless excused by any of the course directors prior to the examination. The final grade will be calculated using the following formula:
Exam #1=15% 
Exam #2=15% 
Exam #3=15% 
Exam #4=15%
Exam #5=20% Final Exam Period
Lab presentations and written documents =20%
The 5th exam will consist of previous and present material. The dates of the examinations are fixed and will NOT be changed. Please complete evaluation upon completion of this course. Thank you.

Course Remediation
The course director, whenever possible, will assist in determining the nature of a student's problem and where feasible, provide supplemental instruction while the course is in progress; however, it is recognized that this may be logistically impossible in some situations .

Tutoring Policy
A student who is not performing adequately, or who is failing the course, must meet with a course director to arrange for review of course information or laboratory requirements. The decision to recommend a tutor can only be made by a course director following discussion with the student.

For Courses that result in final grades of A, B, C, F
A student earning a grade of "F" must perform remediation or repeat the course. Additionally, for a student earning a grade of F, remediation or repetition of the course will not be undertaken until approval is granted by the Academic Performance Committee (APC). APC will also set a deadline for completion of the remediation or repetition of this course. The method of course repetition will be determined by the course director. The method of remediation available for a specific student shall be the prerogative of the course director. Remediation may include, but is not limited to: 1) re-examination, 2) additional assignments, 3) repetition of part or all of the course. 

Labs and Lab Assignments
Lectures will be held in Sanger Hall, 1st floor, room 1-067. Lab sessions are held in Sanger Hall, 4th floor, rooms 4-014 and 4-016. Each lab session will consist of presentations of several cases (see schedule). These cases include a variety of pathologic processes involving different organs. You are required to make an oral presentation of your case to the group and to submit a written document (maximum 2 pages) on your assigned cases. Your presentation and written document must address the following: 

  1. Etiology of the lesion
  2. Macroscopic and microscopic findings
  3. Symptoms and signs and laboratory findings caused by the lesion
  4. Treatment and prognosis
  5. Relevance to dental practice.

You are required to turn in your written case to the lab instructor, or to Ms. Hattie Wyche (room 4006B) at the end of the labs during which you make your presentations. FAILURE to do so will result in a zero for that portion of your grade. You are required to provide two literature citations for each case write up other than the textbook. The cases you present and write about comprise a total of 20% of your final grade for the course. 


  1. Dorland. (2000). Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary. Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders
  2. McPherson, R.A., Pincus, M.: (2012). Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed, Elsevier. Philadelphia, PA.
  3. Cecil Textbook of Medicine; W.B. Saunders. General medicine textbook, easy to understand.
  4. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine; McGraw Philadelphia, PA. General medical textbook more detailed in descriptions.
  5. Rose, L., & Kaye, D. (). Internal Medicine for Dentistry. St. Louis, MO: CV Mosby. Discusses medical conditions with emphasis on dental implications.
  6. Neville, Damm, Allen, & Bouquot. (1995). Oral and maxillofacial pathology. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders. Good oral pathology text with clinical information. Has great chapters in back of text describing lesions based on their gross or radiograph appearance. This will be your textbook in D2 Oral Pathology.

Digital Legends for Labs
Lab 1 | Lab 2 | Lab 3 | Lab 4 | Lab 5 | Lab 6 | Lab 7 | Lab 8Lab 9 | Lab10 | Lab11 | Lab 12 |
Lab 13 | Lab 14 | Lab 15 | Lab 16 | Lab 17 | Lab 18

601 Home | Syllabus | Differential Diagnosis | Evaluation

Updated March 28, 2014