Minutes 05/13/09

Minutes 05/13/09

University of Virginia School of Medicine
Principles of Medicine Committee

  1. Evaluation of course reports for Fall 08 1st year:

    Longitudinal data for 1st year course evaluations were presented and discussed: 

    Course Evaluation Data 2009
    Longitudinal student course performance data were presented and discussed:

    Student Performance Evals 2009

    Some  highlights from the  Fall 08  1st year course reports were discussed:

    Nutritionists withdrew from the Biochemistry course due to lack of compensation. This led to a discussion about the fact that some PhD and MD faculty in the Department of Medicine may still not be receiving specific credit of teaching funds towards their salary for teaching done in basic science courses. With the new curriculum likely to be drawing more heavily on faculty holding appointments in clinical departments, it is important that faculty receive "credit" for this teaching.
    Small Groups Pilot - "Jig Saw Method". This innovative approach to a small group teaching activity was described by Selina Noramly and discussed.

    Gross Anatomy:
    Peer evaluation of Professionalism. Melanie McCollum described this pilot program, which represents the first ever use of peer evaluation of professionalism in a basic science course. She indicated that initially medical students had concerns about this approach.

    Establishment of a state-wide Anatomical Advisory Board. In an effort to address the long-standing problems about cadaver quality, an state-wide Anatomical Advisory Board has been established to advise the State Medical Examiner's Office. Melanie McCollum expressed some optimism that this may lead to an improvement in cadaver quality.

    Computers in the dissecting labs - MAC computers with mobile carts have been purchased for the Gross Anatomy labs, using ETF money allocated to medical student teaching facilities. This will allow medical students to access web-based materials during the course of their dissection sessions.

    Introduction of on-line graded quizzes: This was the first year that CTS/Physiology has used on-line graded quizzes and they were well received. However, after the first quiz (8 questions), students requested more questions per quiz, so the 2nd quiz utilized 19 lab and lecture questions.

    The course reports are available on the Principles of Medicine web site at: http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edupom/crsreports/crsreports-page

  2. Juggling the current and the new curricula: 

    While we are so intensely involved in developing the new "Next Generation" Curriculum, we must not forgot about doing an excellent job of continuing to deliver the current curriculum (introduced in Fall 2005).  There will be one more year of the current Foundations of Medicine curriculum (Class of 2013) and two more years of teaching the current Core Systems curriculum (Classes of 2012 and 2013).  There will be an overlap period in which certain portions of the old curriculum will be taught simulataneous to the new curriculum; in other words, sections of PoM2 and Microbiology may be taught at the same time to two different classes (Class of 2013 in their 2nd year using the old curriculum and the Class of 2014 in their first year using the "new" curriculum).   This will apply primarily to material that was taught in the 2nd calendar year of the "old" curriculum but will be taught in the first calendar year of the "new" curriculum. 

    An interesting discussion ensued as to the public relations challenges surrounding the Class of 2013 (the last class entering medical school under the current curriculum.  There has been much publicity arguing why we need a very different curriculum from what we are currently using.  The students in the Class of 2013 (entering this Fall) will hear about the planned "Next Generation" curriculum and may wonder why they are being denied access to this "much improved" curriculum.  As course directors, we will need to be prepared to deal with questions along this line and should use a strategy of being as positive as possible.  It will be in no one's interest for us to denigrate the existing curriculum that will be used to teach the upcoming class.

  3. Issues surrounding the new Medical Education Building (John Jackson): 

    John Jackson gave a report on issues regarding the planning for instructional technology for the new Claude Moore Medical Education Building, which is scheduled to be finished in May 2010 and used effective August 2010 for the Class of 2014.  The Sextant Goup has the contract for most of the A/V technology for the new building (except for the computer equipment).  John indicated that he was budgeting for 25 lap top computers to be available for use in the Large Learning Studio.  The committee felt that it would be desirable to have many more than 25 laptops available and that it would be useful to have no more than 3 students per laptop for any activity. 

    This discussion about computers for the Large Learning Studio led to a discussion of the furniture for the Large Learning Studio.  Randy Canterbury indicated that round tables (approximately nine students per table) were to be purchased.  This came as a surprise to the committee as many felt it had been clearly discussed in depth and agreed that small rectangular tables (such as are currently shown in the architectural drawings for the large learning Studio) were being purchased, because this would allow the maximum number of options for configuring the Large Learning Studio (including the option to have whole class presentations with all students facing a single screen and a single speaker while being able to have a working surface in front of them).   These tables would also allow a variety of small group sizes for different purposes (including groups as small as 3 or 6, sizes which had been determined by a focus group that met in 2006 to be the optimum small groups sizes).

  4. Job Descriptions for leaders of the "Next Generation" curriculum: 

    Don Innes previously prepared drafts of two different types of job descriptions, one for "System Leaders" and one for ""Content Thread Leaders".  These had been distributed to the Principles of Medicine Committee for comment, feedback was collected and sent to Don Innes, who utilized it in preparing a more refined set of job descriptions, which he distributed at this meeting.   An issue was raised as to who had the responsibility for assembling exams.  It was felt that the System Leaders would have final responsibility for assembling exams from questions that may be collected, in part, by the Content Thread Leaders.  The importance of rigorous peer review of all exam and quiz questions was discussed.  Note that the web site for the {Next Generation" curriculum can be found at:

  5. Course reports are needed from Foundations of Medicine courses that met during Spring 2009 and from all Core Systems courses for the 2008-2009 academic year. Send to Bob Bloodgood using the standard template.

  6. NBME Self-Assessment for 1st year medical students:

    On April 24th, for the first time, a self-assessment instrument (purchased from the NBME) covering all of the 1st year material, was administered to the 1st year medical class under conditions that closely mimic those used for USMLE Step 1.  The purpose of the this assessment, for which the medical students were specifically asked NOT to study, was: 1) to provide experience with format and testing conditions that will be used for USMLE Step 1 and 2) to provide feedback to each medical student on his/her strengths and weaknesses regarding the 1st year curricular material.  Preparation for the assessment (handled by Jerry Short with extensive assistance from John Jackson and HSL staff) was found to be more burdensome that expected. However, the actual administration of the self-assessment (given in two waves) went much more smoothly than anticipated.  The NBME software was particularly robust and error-free.  Each student will be provided, by e-mail, with an individualized report broken down by topic areas.  1st year course directors were given the opportunity to review the performance of the individual test items related to their courses.  It is hoped that one lesson the medical students will take away from this practice USMLE is that they will have plenty of time to work through the actual USMLE; indeed they have the opportunity to work through the actual USMLE Step 1 at a slower pace than they did on this self-assessment, given that almost all students finished in 2 hours (out of 3 hours provided to cover 150 questions).

  7. 4th Year Teaching Awards Program: Wendy Golden has led the sub-committee that administers the 4th year medical student teaching awards program for several years and is now ready to retire (from that duty, not from UVa!). Anyone who would be willing to take over that role is asked to contact Bob Bloodgood.

  8. Pass/Fail Grading Study: The results of the long-running study of the impact of our decision to change the grading in the first two years of medical school from A,B,C,D,F to P/F has been published in the May 2009 issue of Academic Medicine (Volume 84, No.5, 655-662).

    Unless pressing issues arise, there will not be regular meetings of the Principles of Medicine Committee in June, July and August.   Please send Bob Bloodgood suggestions for agenda items for future meeting.