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A Multi-Institution Collaboration to Define Core Content and Design Flexible Curricular Components for a Foundational Medical School Course

Implications for National Curriculum Reform

Chen, Sharon F., MD, MS; Deitz, Jennifer, MA; Batten, Jason N., MA; DeCoste-Lopez, Jennifer, MD; Adam, Maya, MD; Alspaugh, J. Andrew, MD; Amieva, Manuel R., MD, PhD; Becker, Pauline, MA; Boslett, Bryn, MD; Carline, Jan, PhD; Chin-Hong, Peter, MD; Engle, Deborah L., EdD, MS; Hayward, Kristen N., MD; Nevins, Andrew, MD; Porwal, Aarti, MHSA; Pottinger, Paul S., MD; Schwartz, Brian S., MD; Smith, Sherilyn, MD; Sow, Mohamed, MD; Teherani, Arianne, PhD; Prober, Charles G., MD

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000002663
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Medical educators have not reached widespread agreement on core content for a U.S. medical school curriculum. As a first step toward addressing this, five U.S. medical schools formed the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Reimagining Medical Education collaborative to define, create, implement, and freely share core content for a foundational medical school course on microbiology and immunology. This proof-of-concept project involved delivery of core content to preclinical medical students through online videos and class-time interactions between students and facilitators. A flexible, modular design allowed four of the medical schools to successfully implement the content modules in diverse curricular settings. Compared with the prior year, student satisfaction ratings after implementation were comparable or showed a statistically significant improvement. Students who took this course at a time point in their training similar to when the USMLE Step 1 reference group took Step 1 earned equivalent scores on National Board of Medical Examiners–Customized Assessment Services microbiology exam items. Exam scores for three schools ranged from 0.82 to 0.84, compared with 0.81 for the national reference group; exam scores were 0.70 at the fourth school, where students took the exam in their first quarter, two years earlier than the reference group. This project demonstrates that core content for a foundational medical school course can be defined, created, and used by multiple medical schools without compromising student satisfaction or knowledge. This project offers one approach to collaboratively defining core content and designing curricular resources for preclinical medical school education that can be shared.

S.F. Chen is clinical associate professor of pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.

J. Deitz is assistant dean, Stanford Continuing Studies, Stanford University, Stanford, California. At the time of the study and writing, she was director of research and evaluation, Office of Medical Education, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.

J.N. Batten is a fourth-year medical student, and at the time of the study and writing, he was a second-year medical student, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.

J. DeCoste-Lopez is senior pediatric resident, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Stanford Children’s Health, Palo Alto, California.

M. Adam is director of health education outreach, Stanford Center for Health Education, Stanford University, Stanford, California.

J.A. Alspaugh is professor of medicine and of molecular genetics and microbiology, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina.

M.R. Amieva is associate professor of pediatrics and of microbiology and immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.

P. Becker is senior project manager, Information Resources & Technology, Educational Technology Department, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.

B. Boslett is assistant professor of medicine, University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, San Francisco, California.

J. Carline is professor of biomedical informatics and medical education, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington.

P. Chin-Hong is professor of medicine, University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, San Francisco, California.

D.L. Engle is assistant dean for assessment and evaluation, Office of Curricular Affairs, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina.

K.N. Hayward is associate professor of pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington.

A. Nevins is clinical associate professor of medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.

A. Porwal is managing director, Stanford Center for Health Education, Stanford University, Stanford, California.

P.S. Pottinger is associate professor of medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington.

B.S. Schwartz is associate professor of medicine, University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, San Francisco, California.

S. Smith is professor of pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington.

M. Sow is curriculum program manager, Student Affairs, Office of Medical Education, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.

A. Teherani is professor of medicine and education scientist, Center for Faculty Educators, University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, San Francisco, California.

C.G. Prober is senior associate vice provost for health education and professor of pediatrics and of microbiology and immunology, Stanford Center for Health Education, Stanford University, Stanford, California.

The authors have informed the journal that they agree that both S.F. Chen and J. Deitz completed the intellectual and other work typical of the first author.

Funding/Support: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Michael W. Painter, and the Burke Family Foundation provided financial funding, support, or guidance.

Other disclosures: None reported.

Ethical approval: The institutional review boards at all participating schools approved the study or determined the research to be exempt.

Previous presentations: Some of the information presented in this article was presented at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Annual Meeting, November 6–10, 2015, Baltimore, Maryland; at the Western Group on Education Affairs (WGEA) Annual Meeting, April 14–16, 2016, Tucson, Arizona; at the AAMC Annual Meeting, November 11–15, Seattle, Washington; and at IDWeek (Infectious Diseases Society of America), October 26–30, 2016, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Supplemental digital content for this article is available at http://links.lww.com/ACADMED/A645.

Correspondence should be addressed to Sharon F. Chen, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases, Stanford University School of Medicine, 300 Pasteur Dr., MC 5208, Room G312, Stanford, CA 94305; telephone: (650) 736-9821; e-mail: sfchen@stanford.edu.

The authors have informed the journal that they agree that both S.F. Chen and J. Deitz completed the intellectual and other work typical of the first author.

© 2019 by the Association of American Medical Colleges