Letters to the Editor
I thank John E. Coda for his thoughtful comments on my Invited Commentary. Although third-party resources have limitations as a sole source of curriculum, I did not intend to portray such resources in a negative light. Third-party resources have been, and will continue to be, helpful to medical students as they seek to solidify their medical knowledge. Indeed, at my school, we supply—and will continue to do so, regardless of how United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 scores are used—selected third-party resources that we believe will enhance our students’ self-assessment and learning. An individual assessment of each student’s learning style also allows our student development professionals to help students select appropriate additional third-party resources. As I see it, the current problem with third-party resources is twofold: (1) Some students rely almost solely on these resources and thus do not capture information from the curriculum that their faculty believe is essential to becoming a skilled and caring physician, and (2) the current emphasis on the USMLE Step 1 score has resulted in so many available resources that students are often unsure of which to purchase and use. My experience is that anxiety about Step 1 causes some students to purchase so many third-party resources (with resulting increased debt) that they are not able to effectively use any of them. I believe that third-party resources will always have a place in medical education; my hope is that they will be used to augment and solidify, rather than replace, the school’s core curriculum.
Kevin F. Moynahan, MD
Deputy dean for education and professor of medicine, University of Arizona College of Medicine–Tucson, Tucson, Arizona; firstname.lastname@example.org.