The State of Ultrasound Education in U.S. Medical Schools: Results of a National Survey

Bahner, David P. MD, RDMS; Goldman, Ellen EdD; Way, David MEd; Royall, Nelson A. MD; Liu, Yiju Teresa MD

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000414
Research Reports

Purpose: To determine the state of ultrasound education in U.S. medical schools and assess curricular administrators’ opinions on its integration in undergraduate medical education (UME).

Method: In 2012, curricular administrators at 134 U.S. MD-granting medical schools were surveyed concerning the nature of ultrasound education in medical school. The questionnaire sought ultrasound education program characteristics, structures, and objectives. It also sought respondents’ opinions on the role of ultrasound education in UME and barriers to its integration. Frequency and distribution analyses were conducted for survey responses; Rasch analysis was performed for barrier responses.

Results: Responses were received from 82 (61.2%) medical schools; these institutions were representative of the U.S. medical school population. Fifty-one respondents (62.2%) reported ultrasound training was integrated into their UME curriculum. Ultrasound was most commonly taught in the third year (38/82; 46.3%), and the purpose of training varied by curricular year. There was agreement that ultrasound should be part of the UME curriculum (56/71; 78.9%), but few respondents reported it was a priority at their institution (13/70; 18.6%). Respondents perceived lack of space in the curriculum (logit = +0.49; standard error [SE] = 0.11) and lack of financial support (logit = +0.42; SE = 0.11) as the most significant barriers to integration.

Conclusions: Despite a general consensus that ultrasound is an important skill to teach in medical school, the integration of ultrasound education in U.S. schools is highly variable. This study indicates a need for national standards to guide the integration of ultrasound education into U.S. medical school curricula.

Dr. Bahner is professor, director of ultrasound, and emergency medicine ultrasound fellowship director, Department of Emergency Medicine, Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, Ohio.

Dr. Goldman is associate professor, Department of Human and Organizational Learning, and director, Master Teacher Leadership Development Program for the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, George Washington University, Washington, DC.

Mr. Way is senior research associate, Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, Ohio.

Dr. Royall is a fourth-year resident in surgery, Department of Surgery, Orlando Health, Orlando, Florida. He holds a joint appointment as resident instructor, Department of Clinical Sciences, University of Central Florida College of Medicine, Orlando, Florida.

Dr. Liu is assistant professor and emergency medicine ultrasound fellowship director, Department of Emergency Medicine, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC.

Funding/Support: This study was supported financially by the Office of the Dean, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC.

Other disclosures: None reported.

Ethical approval: The study was approved by the institutional review board at Ohio State University. The study was deemed exempt from review by the institutional review board at George Washington University.

Supplemental digital content for this article is available at http://links.lww.com/ACADMED/A222.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Bahner, Ohio State University College of Medicine, 756 Prior Hall, 376 W. 10th Ave., Columbus, OH 43210; telephone: (614) 293-7380; e-mail: david.bahner@osumc.edu.

© 2014 by the Association of American Medical Colleges