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Immunology for Rheumatology Residents

Working Toward a Canadian National Curriculum Consensus

Chow, Shirley L. MD*; Herman-Kideckel, Sari MD; Mahendira, Dharini MD; McDonald-Blumer, Heather MD§

JCR: Journal of Clinical Rheumatology: January 2015 - Volume 21 - Issue 1 - p 10–14
doi: 10.1097/RHU.0000000000000186
Original Articles

Background Immunologic mechanisms play an integral role in understanding the pathogenesis and management of rheumatic conditions. Currently, there is limited access to formal instruction in immunology for rheumatology trainees across Canada.

Aim The aims of this study were (1) to describe current immunology curricula among adult rheumatology training programs across Canada and (2) to compare the perceived learning needs of rheumatology trainees from the perspective of program directors and trainees to help develop a focused nationwide immunology curriculum.

Methods Rheumatology trainees and program directors from adult rheumatology programs across Canada completed an online questionnaire and were asked to rank a comprehensive list of immunology topics. A modified Delphi approach was implemented to obtain consensus on immunology topics.

Results Only 42% of program directors and 31% of trainees felt the current method of teaching immunology was effective. Results illustrate concordance between program directors and trainees for the highest-ranked immunology topics including innate immunity, adaptive immunity, and cells and tissues of the immune system. However, there was discordance among other topics, such as diagnostic laboratory immunology and therapeutics.

Conclusions There is a need to improve immunology teaching in rheumatology training programs. Results show high concordance between the basic immunology topics. This study provides the groundwork for development of future immunology curricula.

From the *Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre; †Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto; ‡Division of Rheumatology, St Michael’s Hospital; and §Division of Rheumatology, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Correspondence: Shirley L. Chow, MD, Division of Rheumatology, Room M1400, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, 2075 Bayview Ave, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M4N 3M5. E-mail:

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S.L.C., S.H.-K., and D.M. are co–primary authors.

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