Learning Environment

During the first year, a good part of your life will revolve around Holmstedt Hall on the campus of Indiana State University. The center has one hallway on the first floor designated for its use. In the hallway, you will find a student lab, lecture hall, seminar room/computer lab, and lounge (complete with refrigerator, microwave, TV, foosball table, lockers, and couches for quick naps). These facilities are available 24 hours a day because each student receives a key to the building, hallway, and rooms.

Some students choose to study here, while others head elsewhere to study, socialize, etc. Each year’s class is different. The class of 2010 didn’t study much at Holmstedt, while the class of 2011 regularly has at least half of the class sticking around on a daily basis to get their work done. It is up to you when and where you study, but some of the best times you will have during the first year of medical school will be at Holmstedt.

The majority of your second year is spent at the Landsbaum Center for Health Education, located near Union Hospital-eight blocks north of Indiana State University. IUSM-TH has its own wing on the first floor of the building, which includes a lecture hall, clinical exam rooms, lounge, study rooms and computer lab. These facilities are available to students 24 hours a day via code access. Landsbaum is really great because there are several rooms in the library and a few conference rooms that can serve as private study rooms. Also, with the renovation of the adjacent Union Hospital, students have only a short walk to the gym, cafeteria, and other resources found within the hospital.

First Year Classes:


Dr. Moga teaches Histology and hands out pretty detailed notes every day in class. Make sure you write down the slide numbers that she uses during class because the same examples are used on exams. She uses the book Histology: A Text and Atlas as a supplement to her notes. It is a good book, very thorough but sometimes not necessary because her notes are detailed. Most of us didn’t buy the book. Instead, we studied the PowerPoint lectures and her written notes.

Also, for her exams, there is a lab section where you are asked to identify various types of tissue. For this portion of the exam, we took pictures of each slide as it was projected in the classroom and then put them onto the picture sharing website, Flickr. This worked out really well, because we did not have to study through a microscope and it allowed students the opportunity to study from home. If you are a textbook learner or would like supplemental information, I would suggest the book. Otherwise, I would just stick with her lecture notes and PowerPoints. For the final, the Histology Board Review Series (BRS) and the High-Yield Histology are good review books as well as the Histology Pretest, which consists of mostly practice questions.


Dr. King teaches Biochemistry. He is awesome. He uses PowerPoint presentations in class (which he will hand out to you) and has a website that is as good if not better than a textbook. Again, most of us did not purchase the textbook, because Dr. King’s website is phenomenal. It provides ample information and all of the material that is tested can be found in the PowerPoints and on the website.

I would STRONGLY suggest that you purchase the Lange USMLE Step 1 Review book. (Lange is the author, but Dr. King writes the Biochemistry portion – questions and answers). Dr. King’s top priority is that you learn what is most important for you as a physician and what you need to know to pass Step 1. He is an effective and efficient professor and will not keep you in class longer than needed. Do not think that just because he lets you out of class early, you should not spend time studying for his tests. This is arguably the hardest class of the first semester, so stay on top of it.

As for review, the Biochemistry BRS and High-Yield Biochemistry are good review texts and, again, the Pretest is good for practice questions. Another review book available is Lippincott’s Biochemistry Review (clear and concise, good review questions).

Gross Anatomy

Dr. Duong teaches anatomy. He is one of the best professors that you will ever have. The list of awards that he has won is pages long and he routinely gets recognized for being a favorite among students and producing very high scores on standardized exams for anatomy.

As for the course, Moore’s Clinically Oriented Anatomy is a useful orientation to the body, and is used by most of the medical schools around the country. It can be long in some areas but some students really like it. It has the famous “blue boxes” filled with clinical correlations. These clinical correlations are key, as they will undoubtedly show up on Dr. Duong’s exams as well as the final exam and most importantly, Step 1.

The regular text can just be a reference, but you definitely need to read the blue boxes for exams. There are a lot of them so try not to get behind. Each day, Dr. Duong provides a PowerPoint lecture that will cover the material for the next day. Each morning, you will have a TBL format quiz on the reading that you were assigned. After the quiz, you will go into lab for the remaining class time. Grant’s or Clemente’s Dissector is required for the lab (one or two per dissection table is sufficient). There are old versions in the lab, and some chose to purchase new editions, but the ones in the lab should be sufficient (unless you would like to have multiple atlases per table). Once in the lab, the lab dissectors will stay in the lab because they get messy.

The two most popular atlases that students recommend are Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy and Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy by Agur & Dalley. I would suggest Netter’s. It has been revised multiple times and the pictures are extremely detailed. This book is essential for doing well in anatomy. One thing to remember is that embryology is integrated into the Gross Anatomy course. This means that you will need an embryology book at some point.

Moore’s The Developing Human is what many of us used for the embryology portion and it served us well. The Board Review Series: Anatomy (otherwise referred to as the B.R.S.) is something that you will use regularly for this class. It has many of the clinical correlations as Moore’s, but does not have the same in-depth detail. This book is awesome for reviewing and preparing for exams, but it will not be enough to learn the material by itself. For that class, we studied the PowerPoints and lecture notes given to us by Dr. Duong, along with the clinical correlations in the BRS and Moore’s.

It is also very helpful to look at Netter’s while studying so you get a feel for the orientation of each piece of anatomy. Otherwise, Moore’s was used as more of a supplement to the lecture notes and to explain things in more detail. I would still strongly suggest purchasing Moore’s, Netters, and the BRS. These three texts, along with Dr. Duong’s notes, are more than enough for you to do well. This class will be the single most time consuming course of the entire year. And although the TBL daily quizzes may seem like a burden, it is a good way to make sure that you keep up with the material, because cramming for anatomy is NOT an option.

Microbiology and Immunology

Formerly one class, now they are two classes with separate grades. Immunology for Medical Students by Nairn will prepare you well for the Immunology section of the class. Another excellent textbook is Immunology, written by Peter Parham. The Nairn text follows the lecture notes pretty closely. Dr. Geib teaches this course. For the final, the Microbiology/Immunology BRS was helpful, but since the final is statewide, studying the “Core” is most important.

Dr. Johnson teaches Micro and has online chapters that supplement her lectures. A must-have supplemental book to use is Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple. It is great. Some students highly recommend Appleton & Lange’s Medical Microbiology and Immunology for both class and board review. It includes the basic information, review questions, summaries of important organisms, and case studies. Talk to other second years about recommendations for Micro review books– it’s not until 2nd semester so you don’t need to order books until around the holidays.


Physiology is taught by Dr. Gabi Waite. For this class, Medical Physiology by Rhoades and Tanner is a good text. The Rhoades and Tanner text may be a bit too in-depth, but it has review questions at the end of each chapter, and lecture notes follow the order of text chapters (but this may change as Dr. Waite is moving towards the Costanzo text). The class of 2011 used Physiology by Linda Costanzo for the assigned text. At times this text may seem a little bit dumbed-down, but most of the chapters are very good. The information is presented in a very simple manner and makes for a very easy read. It’s nice to have when things don’t quite make sense.

Costanzo also writes the BRS for physiology, so I would strongly suggest picking up both the full text and BRS. This class uses a TBL format very similar to Gross Anatomy. Each day you will be assigned a reading and first thing during class you will be given a ten question quiz over the reading. Also, each Friday afternoon you will have a lab that usually lasts a couple of hours. This will be the most time-intensive class of your second semester.


Dr. Lanoo is the professor for Neuroscience. This class is presented in an interesting way – much different than any of the other courses during your first year. The text is Bloomenfield’s Neuroanatomy. The text is good, but the way you learn the information is very unique. At the end of each chapter, there are clinical cases that correlate with the important information in that chapter. The class is paired off and each pair will be assigned a handful of cases to present during the semester. You are responsible for making a handout to give to the class and explaining to them the highlights of each case.

This is basically how the material is taught. Dr. Lanoo will highlight the important parts of each chapter, and you should definitely know them, along with the important information from each case handout for the exams. You will also need an atlas for this class. The Haine’s Neuroscience atlas is the one that our class used. The 7th edition is the newest (as off January 2008), and is the one we suggest.

Patient-Physician Relationship (aka Introduction to Clinical Medicine I)

This class is one afternoon a week and doesn’t require any texts. Dr. Stevens will post articles online to read each week and you are required to post reflections. You will meet with him a few times at the beginning of the semester but the majority of the sessions will be spent with your preceptor (a physician in town). This is one major advantage of coming to the Terre Haute center. You will begin seeing patients by the fifth week. Other centers may not see real patients until their third year in Indianapolis.

In Terre Haute, we are given a wonderful opportunity to shadow a number of different physicians in a variety of fields. You will preference what kind of physician you want to follow and Dr. Stevens will do his best to match your preferences.

Buying Books

Talk to the MS2’s before buying books at the bookstore. We can sell you our books at a better price. The on-campus source is the ISU bookstore. If you want something and they don’t have it, they can usually get it within one week. If you are shopping in Indy, go to Indy’s College Bookstore. It is right off of IUPUI’s campus and you can get there from either 10th or 11th street (by Starbucks).

Another option for textbooks is online (Medsite, Amazon, Overstock, etc). I suggest buying textbooks online, but not until you talk to the second years. Many times online books are a little cheaper than bookstore prices. The downfall is that you can’t sell the books back at the end of the semester, and you have to wait a couple of days to a week after ordering to receive your books.

The following are books that I would buy without hesitation for the first semester:

  • Moore’s Gross Anatomy
  • Board Review Series: Anatomy
  • Netter’s Anatomy Atlas
  • Board Review Series: Histology/Cell Biology
  • Lange Q&A: USMLE Step 1

Worry about second semester books after the first semester is finished. There’s always a chance that a new edition will come out or the professor decides to change texts.

Places to study

It might make a person crazy to spend 18 hours a day in the same classroom, but aside from that, the center is a good place to study. Nice distractions include the phone at your disposal and the televisions in the lecture room (with cable hook-up). Plus if you order pizza from Papa John’s from an on-campus phone, you get a nice student discount.

Cunningham Memorial Library of Indiana State University is located just north of Holmstedt Hall. It is open until midnight on weeknights and is not a bad place to study if you can find a quiet corner to hide in. There’s also a coffee shop located in the library.

The Vigo County Public Library, on the corner of 7th Street and Poplar Avenue, also has a nice atmosphere, but is also somewhat short on business hours.

Landsbaum Center for Health Education is where second-year students have most of their classes, but first year students are more than welcome to study here if Holmstedt Hall becomes too much of a distraction. The medical library has a good selection of clinical and reference books as well as a respectable list of periodicals which may come in handy for some of the papers you’ll have to write during your first year. The library is small, but it is a comfortable place to study and has a lounge with plasma screen TV and cable hook-up. Ask a second year how to get in.

Many students also study at Coffee Grounds (downtown) or at Java Haute (east side of town – open 24 hours). Coffee Grounds is a little noisy, but if you don’t mind that, it is a nice break from the usual classroom/library setting. Java Haute has a great atmosphere but can sometimes be distracting if you aren’t wearing headphones. Both of these have free wireless internet. Studying at a coffee shop also gives you the added benefit of delicious pastries and coffee at your immediate disposal.

Campus Police and Safety Escort

Campus police is (812) 237-5555. Safety escort provided by Indiana State University Student Operation is (812) 237-5555.

635 N Barnhill Dr | Indianapolis, IN 46202 | Ph: (317) 274-1965 | Fax: (317) 274-4309