Learning in Context: Developing Case Scenarios for the Preclinical Curriculum

Presented by Chuck Eldridge on September 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Professional training programs typically begin with a study of fundamental underlying principles, followed by apprenticeship experiences of skill refinement. Indeed, the Flexner report on medical education, published a century ago, stressed the need for adequate basic science education by medical schools as a prelude to clinical training. However, as managers and instructors of present-day preclinical phases struggle to squeeze in the essentials of an exploding catalog of biomedical information, a further problem seems too often ignored: helping students learn to use what they’ve been taught. Clinical practice is an active, decision-making profession that relies on transduction of facts and concepts to resolve clinical problems. But how can non-clinician scientists promote this next step? Where can one gather pertinent clinical applications of molecular interactions or complex fundamental concepts? How can one phrase useful clinical scenarios in an accurate fashion? The purpose of this session is to provide some approaches to developing these clinical illustrations and applications of basic science principles. A variety of strategies will be elaborated, including insertion of clinical pearls into platform lectures, large-group sessions of active learning or review discussion with a case context, case-based small group tutorials and learning environments, and the case-oriented assessment process.

Presenter Bios

Chuck EldridgeJ. Charles Eldridge, Ph.D., Professor of Physiology & Pharmacology, has been at the Wake Forest School of Medicine for 35 years as a leader and innovator in both medical and graduate school education. He was a founder and eventually co-director of the problem-based, case-based Parallel Curriculum, used as the pre-clinical phase by a portion of Wake Forest medical classes in the 1980’s-90’s. He then became an architect of the present integrated curriculum, serving as overall director of the first two blocks (28 weeks), and as director of the faculty-facilitated small group course now known as Case-Centered Learning (CCL). He has also received numerous teaching awards from student classes for his instructional series in endocrine pharmacology.

Dr. Eldridge has authored or co-authored more than 40 cases used in CCL, another dozen cases at the core of the Wake Forest graduate school curriculum on bioethics, professionalism, and responsible conduct of research, and more than a dozen published papers and invited chapters in education. He has provided educational consultation to many medical, veterinary, and graduate schools, and has participated in more than 60 presentations on education at national and international conferences. His many presentations at IAMSE meetings include a plenary debate at the very first conference in 1993.

Dr. Eldridge is a member of the AAMC Southern Group on Educational Affairs and the Research in Medical Education group, and was a charter member of IAMSE. He has served as adjunct faculty for the Harvard Macy Program for Medical Educators, an advisor to the Baylor College of Medicine FIPSE Team Learning Project, a member of the Association of Professors of Gynecology & Obstetrics project on Women’s Health Care Competencies, and as an item committee member for the USMLE Step 1.