Minutes 08.19.99

Minutes 08.19.99

University of Virginia School of Medicine
Curriculum Committee
 Minutes 08.19.99

Pediatric-Pathology Conference Room 4:00pm

Present (underlined) were: Reid Adams, Robert Bloodgood, Anita Clayton, Al Connors, Gene Corbett, Donald Innes (Chair), Steven Meixel, Jerry Short, Bill Wilson, Robb Williams, Debra Reed (Secretary)

 Dr. Eugene Corbett reviewed the report by the Council on Medical Education Task Force on Medical School Objectives (June, 1998). This Task Force, chaired by Dr. Corbett, was established by the CME to put together a document articulating the objectives of medical education at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. The group attempted to be comprehensive yet concise in their proposal of the following 12 objectives. The Task Force constructed the individual categories to be complete and able to stand alone. They attempted to create a template for medical education that would match the work of practicing physicians. The goals are described in terms of competencies required of the contempoary physician.

The competencies required of the contemporary physician include

  1. The development and practice of a set of personal and professional attributes that enable the independent performance of the responsibilities of a physician and the ability to adopt to the evolving practice of medicine. These include an attitude of:
    • Humanism, compassion and empathy,
    • Collegiality and interdisciplinary collaboration,
    • Continuing and lifelong self education,
    • Awareness of a Personal response to one's personal and profession limits,
    • Community and social service,
    • Ethical personal and professional conduct,
    • Legal standards and conduct,
    • Economic awareness in clinical practice; 
  2. Knowledge in the basic human sciences 
  3. The ability to engage and involve any patient in a relationship for the purpose of clinical problem solving and care throughout the duration of the relationship,
  4. Eliciting a clinical history, 
  5. Performing a physical examination,
  6. Generating and refining a prioritized differential diagnosis for a clinical finding or set of findings,
  7. Developing and refining a plan of care for both the prevention and treatment of illness and the relief of symptoms and suffering,
  8. Developing a prognosis for an individual, family or population based upon health risk or diagnosis, with and without intervention, and planning appropriate follow-up,
  9. Selecting and interpreting clinical tests for the purpose of health screening and prevention, diagnosis, prognosis or intervention,
  10. Organizing, recording, presenting, researching, critiquing and managing clinical information,
  11. Selecting and performing procedural skills related to physical examination, clinical testing and therapeutic intervention, and
  12. Knowledge of the social, economic, ethical, legal and historical context within which medicine is practiced. 

After discussion, the Curriculum Committee agreed that while the above objectives were clear and comprehensive, an additional category regarding research should be added. While the majority of our students will become clinicians, all should have an appreciation for medical research. Medical school should provide a basic knowledge of the scientific method. Furthermore, the UVA School of Medicine has a mission of educating medical school graduates who wish to enter academic medicine. An objective reflecting medical research might be fulfilled in the form of a clinical, educational, literature search or laboratory project, culminating with a student presentation of their work to their colleagues - a "Research Day" or similar event. [Note#1] Committee members were asked to e-mail Dr. Corbett recommendations and he will draft this objective. A preliminary suggestion - "Competency in the understanding and application of the scientific method for the purpose of furthering medical knowledge."

Committee members discussed formalizing the responsibilities of the Curriculum Committee. There was concern that the committee not get bogged down with too large a membership. The committee acts with the approval of the Dean. The committee needs to have a tangible influence on teachers, evaluation of teachers, standardization of teaching performance and participation, creating and overseeing a set of performance standards. The following Curriculum Committee responsibilities were modified by Jerry Short from the suggested Curriculum Committee Responsibilities (see attachment to MinutesCC 08.12.99)

The Curriculum Committee of the School of Medicine is responsible for the design, management, and evaluation of the undergraduate medical curriculum in accordance with the accreditation requirements of the LCME.

The Committee has the authority, with the approval of the Dean, to set educational objectives, establish educational requirements, allocate curriculum time, specify teaching methods, select course directors, and evaluate educational outcomes.

The Committee is also responsible for making recommendations to the Dean about salary support for faculty who teach, teaching space required by the curriculum design, and other support needed to make the curriculum effective, e.g., computer staff and facilities and the standardized patient program.

The Committee will establish processes for reviewing, evaluating, and revising the curriculum on a recurring timeline to ensure that the curriculum is coherent, coordinated, current, and effective.

The Curriculum Committee should foster more interdisciplinary information sharing. For instance, last year Dr. Kadner spoke to the Preclinical Committee regarding the changes that had been made to the microbiology course and the evaluation of those changes. The Curriculum Committee might provide a set of goals and objectives to the Course Directors along with the Curriculum Committee's expectations. This would provide a basis on which to evaluate individual courses. Similar activities should be assimilated into the Clerkship Committee.

The committee would like to learn from the views of faculty members, both here at UVA and at other institutions, with a interest and insight in medical education. Gary Owens, who runs the recently overhauled MD/PhD program will be invited to discuss how we might benefit from some of the recent changes made to that program. Susan Squillace who heads the General Scholars Program will also be asked to meet with the Curriculum Committee. Steven Borowitz from Pediatrics could be invited to discuss the Hospital Information System and how that might be used for medical education. It ws suggested that we have Biochemistry, where scheduled time has been cut by 40% and moved towards a disease based curriculum, discuss the specifics and anticipated outcome of this change. It was suggested that the Basic Science courses should have a physician co-director to help guide clinical relevance in the teaching of the basic science principles of medicine.

Note:#1 The scientific method should be presented throughout the clinical years as a model for medical practice. It was suggested that what drives students in the direction their career will take is a faculty roll model and not something you teach. In many specialities, the selection of a research career path usually takes place during residency not medical school.


Donald J Innes, M.D.