Minutes 02.07.08

Minutes 02.07.08

University of Virginia School of  Medicine
Curriculum Committee

Pediatric Conference Room, 4:00 p.m.                       

Present (underlined) were: Reid Adams, Gretchen Arnold, Eve Bargmann, Dan Becker, Robert Bloodgood, Thomas Gampper, Wendy Golden, Donald Innes (Chair),  Howard Kutchai, Marcus Martin, Mohan Nadkarni, Chris Peterson, Jerry Short, Bill Wilson, Brad Bradenham, Emily Clarke, Sixtine Valdelievre,  Debra Reed (secretary)

  1. Announcements.

    a) Dr. Robert Bloodgood has reserved human study approval for his research into whether student admission criteria and MCAT scores correlates to class attendance.

    b) Two published articles were distributed to the Committee

    "What Did the Professor Say? Check your iPod" - from the NY Times

    "Application of Boom's Toxonomy Debunks the "MCAT Myth" - Science, 319:414-415, 2008  

  2. Combined Degree Program: M.D./M.P.H.  A two page outline of a proposal for a combined degree program was distributed to the Committee.  It outlines the criteria for admission, enrollment, tuition and financial aid,  tracking credit, effect on the transcript, and awarding of degrees.  The Committee voted unanimously to support this combined M.D./M.P.H. degree program.

  3. Measuring success in residency placement (Dr. Robert Bloodgood)

    Bob Bloodgood presented his efforts to find a quantitative measure for determining the success that UVa medical students have in matching into high quality residency programs.  This effort was driven, in part, by the desire to ask the question whether our change in the grading system in the 1st two years of our medical curriculum from letter grades to pass/fail had any deleterious effect on residency placement success.

    Three measures were examined:

    1) US News and World Report overall rankings for medical schools. Each medical school in the top 65 is assigned a quantitative score reflecting a number of factors. The scores for the schools containing the residency programs to which our students matched were averaged. There was no statistically significant difference in the means for the Classes of 2006 (graded) and 2007 (pass/fail). Members of the curriculum committee felt that this was not a meaningful measure of residency program quality; because the best residency programs in a particular field are not necessarily found at the top rated medical schools.

    2) Use of just one of the measures (called "Assessment score by residency directors") from the US News and World Report ranking system for medical schools. Dr. Bill Wilson pointed out that, in this measure, the residency directors were asked to rank the quality of the undergraduate medical training at various medical schools and not the Residency training programs. This measure again showed no statistically significant difference between the graded and pass/fail classes. The members of the Curriculum Committee were, once again, not convinced that this was a valid measure of residency program quality.

    3) Use of Board certification exam pass rates for Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Pediatrics and Surgery residency programs (available on the web sites of the ABIM, ABFM, ABP and ABS) as a measure of residency program success, Again the scores for the Residency programs to which our students matched were averaged. The data are shown in the Figure below. There is no significant difference in the means for the graded and pass/fail classes. The Curriculum Committee felt that this was, by far, the most valid measure (of the three) for estimating residency placement "success" of our medical students. The data below suggest that the change in our grading system in the first two years of medical school from letter grades to pass/fail did not have any deleterious effect on our medical students in terms of residency placement.
  4. Course Reviews - 2008
    The Committee discussed which courses should be reviewed spring 2008.

    Neuroscience, Anatomy, PoM1, and Medical and Molecular Genetics were selected for review.  All of these courses have experienced recent changes in directorship or curriculum.  The Course Directors of these courses will be contacted to set up dates for their reviews.  The Committee hopes to complete the review process by the end of April so that recommendations might be helpful in planning the 08-09 academic year.

  5. Extension of Clerkships.  The Committee was briefed by Don Innes on the unusual number of MSTP students returning to this year's clerkship class.  This influx could potentially raise the total number of students in the clerkship year by as much as 14 or 15.  One possibility to address this issue might be to have the 10 month core clerkships spread over a 12 month period with selectives/electives interspersed with the clerkships.  The electives that are interspersed into the core clerkships would have to be carefully chosen and approved so that students were adequately prepared for them, i.e. plastic surgery after the surgery clerkship.  The Committee will continue the discussion of this proposal and other ways this issue might be addressed at the next meeting.  A decision must be on this made soon to help the 09-10 clerkship year.

Donald Innes