Minutes 05.24.12

Minutes 05.24.12

University of Virginia School of Medicine
Curriculum Committee Executive Management Group
Minutes – 05/24/12

Pediatric Conference Room, 4:00 p.m.

Present (underlined) were: Peter Ham, Donald Innes (Chair), Keith Littlewood, Nancy McDaniel, Bart Nathan, Casey White, Mary Kate Worden, Guests:  Linda Waggoner-Fountain, Selina Noramly, Sabrina Nunez, Debra Reed (secretary)

  1. Molecular and Cellular Medicine (MCM) System Review.  Linda Waggoner-Fountain, Selina Normaly, and Sabrina Nunez presented an overview of the UVA NxGen Curriculum System Evaluation Report for the 2011 Molecular and Cellular Medicine (MCM) System, Curricular Weeks 1-12. They spoke to the plans for improvements in 2012.

    Policy Document. The System Leaders ask that since MCM is the first and longest system in the NxGen curriculum, all policies i.e. attendance, number of assessments, TBLs, examinations, should be confirmed and published on the web for both faculty and students prior to the beginning of the system and remain unchanged throughout the 18 months of the preclerkship period.   This is the plan for 2012 – a comprehensive policy document is being developed and will be distributed at the System Leaders meeting in June and published to the web shortly thereafter.

    Improved Orientation. It was noted that in the second iteration of MCM students seemed more prepared for class, better prepared to work in teams, and better able to work in a paperless environment in 2011 compared to the 2010 class.  This is attributed to improvements to the orientation process to better prepare the students.

    Technology in the classrooms was much improved in 2012. 

    Redesign of MCM. Because of the major redesign of MCM in 2012, (16 weeks to 10 weeks with 4 weeks of MIS separated from MCM and 2 weeks of downsizing) some topics, i.e. one carbon cycle in biochemistry, were eliminated that will need to be reintroduced in 2013.    The course directors noted that while improvements are being planned for 2013 they are not of the same magnitude as those between 2011 and 2012.

    The System Leaders also noted some problems with the typically second year material in the first 10 weeks of medical school. Because of the varied backgrounds of the students entering medical school, a number of students found Pharmacology and Pathology concepts difficult to master. 

    Students found it difficult to differentiate abnormal cells on slides with little histology experience.  Robin LeGallo and Kristen Atkins from Pathology are diligently working with the System Leaders to improve the pathology presentations (lectures/case studies/labs) and provide more supporting material for the cases.  Pathology residents have been recruited to help in the case studies for 2012. 

    The Pharmacology thread is more problematic.  At present there are 8 hours of pharmacology Camtasia lectures, 6 hours of in class lecture and 4 hours of case presentations regarding pharmacology.  System leaders are working with the thread leader, Carl Creutz, to enhance these presentations.  Pharmacy instructors from the School of Nursing have been recruited to enhance the Pharmacology sections. Issues with the format of the presentations are being discussed.  System Leaders asked the Curriculum Committee Executive Management Group to provide guidance on how to address these problems.

    Student organized Core System Learning Groups are not selected until the last few weeks of MCM.  Permission was granted for the System Leaders to select random students for a Core System Learning Group for MCM much earlier in the year, so that this evaluation process could effect timely improvements in this system. 

    Current vacancies in the Instructional Design position(s) are problematic for MCM.  Casey White reported that they hope to hire a candidate to fill this position within the next two weeks and the person could start as early as two weeks later.  Since plans are now being completed for the 2012 MCM course, System Leaders were asked to call on Casey White for any assistance she can provide in the interim.

    Team Based Learning in MCM. There are 5-6 TBLs planned for MCM in 2012. This would adhere to the policy of every other week TBLs in the Curriculum. At present, TBLS regarding, nutritional deficiencies, cholesterol and steroid metabolism, reaction and DNA repair, sickle cell disease, global review of metabolism, and cancer are being developed.  System leaders noted that TBLs hosted by a clinician and a basic scientist worked best in 2011.

    Learning as a Team Process. System Leaders asked that the value of attendance in Learning Studio activities be stressed during orientation.  Students need to be aware that there is “value added” material during these sessions and that material from these sessions will be evaluated both on exams and during the clerkship experience.  Attendance will be taken next year in the learning studio – not for grading purposes – but to determine if there is a correlation between attendance and outcomes.

    Evaluating CPD Activities in MCM. In 2012, there were no questions on MCM exams that directly related to CPD activities.  During 2011, exam questions were solicited from the CPD directors and used on the exams but were disliked by both students and the CPD faculty.

    The Committee thanked the System Leaders Selina Noramly, Linda Waggoner-Fountain and Sabrina Nunez for their work in this evolving and well-received system.  The Committee endorsed the proposed recommendations for improvement.

  2.   Team Based Learning (TBL).  An outline of the number of TBLs and topics in the current year’s curriculum and those planned for 2012-13 was distributed.  If current plans for 2012-13 remain true, the average of one TBL every other week requested by the Curriculum Committee is on target.


Donald J. Innes, Jr., M.D.
Debra Reed