Minutes 11/12/03

Minutes 11/12/03

University of Virginia School of Medicine

Principles of Medicine Committee

Minutes 11.12.03


  1.  Curriculum Databases:  Joel Hockensmith presented the concept of a curriculum database. To create this, each course would assign a series of keywords for each lecture, lab or small group session.  Creating such a database would include: 1) obtaining the initial information, 2) deciding the database to be used, 3) identifying source of manpower for data entry and 4) establishing a process for keeping the database updated as changes are made in lectures and course content. It was pointed out that curriculum databases were a topic at recent AAMC meeting and commercial software is available.  Jerry Short pointed out that databases usually work best when based on a pre-established set of keywords.   Some time ago, Jerry Short attempted to establish a curriculum database using the USMLE test specifications but was not able to obtain enough cooperation from the course directors.  John Jackson and Haiyan He in Medical Education are working on re-establishing a search engine that will work for all the course materials on the course web sites (PDFs, HTML files, Powerpoint) that may serve some of the needs for which a curriculum database would be desirable.  For that search engine to work, PDF files of lecture handouts and other teaching materials need to be created with certain settings.  Carl Creutz pointed out that PDF files created by a fancy copy machine will not work.  It was proposed that John Jackson be asked to meet with the Principles of Medicine Committee to discuss issues related to search engines and databases related to the curriculum. One idea was to create a searchable list of all titles of all lectures.  The major goal of this discussion was to create some way that faculty can find out what content is given elsewhere in the curriculum (outside their own lectures or courses) in the interest of coordination and avoidance of overlap or contradictions in the material presented to the medical students.

  2. Posting lecture handouts and Powerpoint presentations on course web sites.  As a part of the above discussion, the group present discussed the desirability of having handouts and Powerpoint presentations for all lectures in the curriculum posted on the appropriate course web sites. This would allow students to have access to this material outside of class (or in the event that they missed a lecture), reduce note taking (so that students might listen and absorb more effectively during lectures and would provide curriculum information for faculty in other courses and make the search engine to be implemented by John Jackson maximally useful.   The Committee agreed to require that all lecture handouts and Powerpoint presentations in the first two years of the curriculum be posted on course web sites.  The new Course Content Management System developed by John Jackson and Haiyan He makes it very easy for individual faculty or course directors to create and post PDF versions of lecture handouts from word-processing files and to post Powerpoint presentations.

  3. Student Input regarding Curriculum Change: During the breakout sessions during the Principles of Medicine Committee meeting on October 22, 2003, all four of the groups suggested obtaining medical student input as part of the process of deciding on recommendations for curricular change.  Much medical student input has recently been obtained by other groups in the School of Medicine. The following student input was distributed by e-mail to all members of the Principles of Medicine Committee:

    1. Feb 2003 Town Hall Meeting with 2nd years
    2. Sept 2003 Town Hall Meeting with 2nd Years
    3. Comments from 2003 AAMC Exit Interviews
    4. Table of Course Evaluations from AAMC Exit Interviews
    5. Bloodgood notes from 10/7/03 Focus Group meeting with 3rd and 4th year students
    6. Bargmann notes from 10/7/03 Focus Group meeting with 3rd and 4th year students

    In addition to this info, all of the courses have available to them yearly medical student course evaluations.

    Feedback from students will be obtained through two other means this month (November, 2003):   Jerry Short described the survey of all medical students that he is conducting as preparation for the LCME accreditation procedure.  Those surveys will be conducted on the web this month.  Dr. Short said that he would share these data with the Principles Committee. Because of the extensive nature of this survey, Dr. Short has asked that we try to avoid competing surveys of the medical students.  Richard Pearson plans to hold a Town Meeting with selected students from all classes during mid-January, 2004.  Julie Turner pointed out that the AAMC Exit Survey data from 2003 had positive feedback on the basic science curriculum.  Bob Bloodgood asked the Committee if they wanted to devote a full meeting to reviewing the various forms of input (listed above) from medical students that has been distributed to the committee.  There was no clear mandate from the committee for doing this.   One faculty member pointed out that having read the material that was distributed was sufficient for his purposes.  Another faculty member pointed out that student input should not be the sole basis for making curricular decisions.

  4. Julie Turner asked: AWhat is our goal in terms of curriculum revision/improvement?@. Possible goals suggested by the group: A.  Increase USMLE board scores, B. Attract better students to enter the School of Medicine, C. Get our students into better residency programs, D. Affect the proportions of our students that enter various careers (such as academic medicine or primary care medicine), E. Increase performance on shelf exams given in Clerkships, or F.  Get more of the top UVa pre-meds to attend UVa School of Medicine.

  5. Next steps by the Principles Committee.  In order to determine how best to proceed in terms of arriving at curriculum recommendations from the Principles Committee, John Gazewood will conduct an e-mail poll of the membership of the Committee.