Teaching Conferences

The series of conferences unique to the Medical House Staff Training Program and to the Department comprise an important component of the overall educational curriculum for the residency. Conferences are didactic or case-based, large and small group, and most importantly interactive. With several conferences scheduled daily, residents gain substantive exposure to various topics in internal medicine, clinical reasoning skills, and tools to critically analyze the medical literature. See below to learn more about the individual conference series.


Every morning, residents convene to hear a colleague present an interesting case to a chief resident and attending physician. These presentations are interactive, relying on residents to help interpret laboratory data and imaging to build a differential diagnosis. The focus is on developing an expert approach to clinical problems, while gaining exposure to clinical horses and zebras alike. At the end of each session, upon arriving at the final diagnosis, the chief residents will offer teaching points and clinical pearls that residents can use for diagnostic or management decisions going forward. Once a month, the standard morning report is replaced by “intake rounds,” wherein admissions from the previous night are presented to the division chiefs from the Department of Medicine, again with a focus on broadening the residents’ knowledge base and diagnostic skills, while seeing how preeminent academic clinicians at our institution approach complex and interesting clinical problems.


Residents also have noon conference every Monday through Friday, in which teaching attendings review important medical topics over lunch. Over the year, noon conferences assume various formats, including faculty lectures, clinical-pathologic correlation (CPC) conferences, autopsy conferences, and senior talks (led by PGY-3s).


Each week, the Department of Medicine invites internationally recognized experts from various fields to teach faculty and housestaff alike.


A longstanding tradition at Columbia, junior and senior residents on outpatient rotations convene to present cases to a two-attending panel, including Dr. Ralph Blume, a rheumatologist, as well as a guest attending. Dr. Blume’s reputation and dedication as a senior educator in the Department has led this conference to be coined, “Blume Rounds”. These sessions provide another forum for resident-level discussion of the more interesting and challenging cases.



Junior and senior residents present articles at this weekly conference. Each week, one article, often a new publication, is analyzed from the perspective of trial design, while the other, termed “Classic EBM,” is discussed for its content and contribution to the practice of Evidence-Based Medicine. Both of these discussions are facilitated by subspecialty faculty with expertise in content areas relevant to the article in question. This popular conference helps residents become familiar with the most seminal studies in internal medicine, learn to discuss them intelligently, and apply these lessons to patient care.



As part of the overall outpatient curriculum, this series of conferences, which complements journal club, provides a structured curriculum over the three years of residency. Led by Dr. Walter R. Palmas, this series systematically covers the approach to Evidence-Based Medicine and equips the residents with a foundation in epidemiology and statistics to properly appraise the medical literature.


At this weekly conference, interns get an opportunity to learn in a format identical to that of morning report. This is protected learning time for interns as the residents cover their services for the entirety of the conference.



Throughout the entire year, interns have additional protected time for interactive lectures on fundamental clinical problems in medicine (e.g. GI bleeding, chest pain, respiratory failure). Lectures are given by senior residents on the Teach Rotation and prepared in collaboration with a chief resident.

From Our Residents

Residency at Columbia has given me the opportunity to be part of a system that welcomes diversity and quickly makes you feel at home. It has certainly been a privilege to work in a setting that fosters underserved communities and mediates exposure to treat a wide array of disease in a challenging learning environment driven towards growth as well-rounded physicians while providing high quality patient care.

- Dennis De León, MD 


  University of Puerto Rico 

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