Beyond a Curricular Design of Convenience: Replacing the Noon Conference With an Academic Half Day in Three Internal Medicine Residency Programs

Batalden, Maren K. MD, MPH; Warm, Eric J. MD; Logio, Lia S. MD

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31828b09f4

Several residency programs have created an academic half day (AHD) for the delivery of core curriculum, and some program Web sites provide narrative descriptions of individual AHD curricula; nonetheless, little published literature on the AHD format exists. This article details three distinctive internal medicine residency programs (Cambridge Health Alliance, University of Cincinnati, and New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical College) whose leaders replaced the traditional noon conference curriculum with an AHD. Although each program’s AHD developed independently of the other two, retrospective comparative review reveals instructive similarities and differences that may be useful to other residency directors. In this article, the authors describe the distinct approaches to the AHD at the three institutions through a framework of six core principles: (1) protect time and space to facilitate learning, (2) nurture active learning in residents, (3) choose and sequence curricular content deliberately, (4) develop faculty, (5) encourage resident preparation and accountability for learning, and (6) employ a continuous improvement approach to curriculum development and evaluation. The authors chronicle curricular adaptations at each institution over the first three years of experience. Preliminary outcome data, presented in the article, suggests that the transition from the traditional noon conference to an AHD may increase conference attendance, improve resident and faculty satisfaction with the curriculum, and improve resident performance on the In Training Examination.

Dr. Batalden is instructor in medicine, Harvard Medical School, and former associate program director, Residency Program in Internal Medicine, Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Dr. Warm is professor of medicine, University of Cincinnati, and program director, Residency Program in Internal Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Dr. Logio is Herbert J. and Ann Siegel Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, and vice chair for education and program director, Internal Medicine Residency Program, New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York.

Supplemental digital content for this article is available at

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Batalden, Cambridge Health Alliance, 10 Beacon St., Room 111, Cambridge, MA 02139; telephone: (617) 665-3144; fax: (617) 665-3105; e-mail:

© 2013 Association of American Medical Colleges