INNOVATION: A Process for the Development of Core Objective Guidelines for Teaching Medical Microbiology and Immunology

S. James Booth1, Ph.D., Louis Justement2, Ph.D., Gene Burges3, M.D., Ph.D., Floyd Knoop4, Ph.D.

1Department of Pathology and Microbiology
986495 Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha, NE 68198-6495 USA
2Department of Microbiology
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, AL 35294-2182 USA
3Department of Dermatology
Medical University of South Carolina
Charleston, SC 29425 USA
4Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology
Creighton University School of Medicine
Omaha, NE 68178 USA

The Association of Medical Schools Microbiology and Immunology Chairs (AMSMIC) sponsor the Microbiology & Immunology Educational Strategies Workshop on a biennial schedule. At the 7th meeting held in 1998, a session was devoted to core learning objectives for teaching medical microbiology (separate objectives for fundamental/basic microbiology and pathogenesis/infectious diseases) and immunology/host defenses. These were interactive sessions lead by medical microbiology and immunology course directors. As a starting point, learning objectives discussed were an amalgam of objectives that were currently in use at several medical schools. Attendees at each of the three sessions could suggest additional objectives. No objectives were deleted. To prioritize the objectives, a show of hands was used to rank the objectives with respect to trivial (no need to include in curriculum), important (include if there is time), or essential knowledge. Although not widely disseminated, these served as guidelines for course directors until the 2006 biennial meeting. At that meeting, there were formal sessions to revisit core objective development, using the same format as utilized at the 1998 meeting. During the panel discussion following the breakout sessions, it was quickly realized that the “show of hands” method for prioritizing was slow and inaccurate. It was therefore proposed to develop a collaborative web site based upon the wiki1 format. The web site was developed by the Division of Information Technology at Creighton University. At the 12th biennial meeting held in May, 2008, additional formal sessions were held to finalize the procedures for ranking the core objectives. Attendees of the 11th & 12th workshops have been provided passwords to allow them to edit and/or rank the posted objectives. At this writing, on-line ranking and editing of the objectives is in progress. The consensus of the attendees was that these core objectives should be used as a resource for course content and not an attempt to develop a national curriculum. Our intent is to review and update the learning objectives every two years. The learning objectives are available for viewing at


1.Wikipedia, Accessed 05/20/2008