Roger W. Koment, Ph.D.

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Recently in my early morning reading, I came across an interesting human behavioral twist on Newton’s Third Law of Motion: “For every positive action, there is a positive reaction.” I stopped after that sentence to consider its impact in the context of what we in the BSEF are doing. Our goal is a positive action, to become the major vehicle by which both current and innovative ideas in teaching the sciences fundamental to the practice of medicine are disseminated and shared by faculty throughout the globe. It is the first action of a great ripple effect in medical education, for here we are providing the mechanism to gather and publish current methods in use. We encourage informal dialogue on innovative ideas, through regional and national meetings and conferences, and widely disseminate a newsletter in which to publish preliminary results. Our desire is to stimulate others to adapt ideas to their own disciplines and classes to the ultimate end of inspiring a new generation of physicians able to think critically and enhance their scientific curiosity. This positive reaction will be the outcome of positive actions that each BSEF member can initiate.

Examples abound within this very issue of THE FORUM, this time dedicated to the disciplines of Pathology and Pharmacology. They begin with Dr. Gabriel Virella’s column on Clinical Correlations in the Basic Sciences, authored by Dr. Alphonse Ingenito, coordinator of the Pharmacology POPS Project, and also features the pioneering work of Dr. Thomas Kent in interactive computer-assisted cases in Pathology. Dr. David Nierenberg’s contribution to Dr. Thomas Devlin’s column, Innovations in Basic Science Teaching and Learning draws our attention back to Pharmacology with his methods of integrating this discipline into both the second and fourth year curriculum. Data gathering must become a function of the BSEF, and Dr. Elsa Cohen has submitted our first Reader Response Survey, wherein she asks for your views on the use of autopsies and autopsy materials in basic science education. The results of her inquiry will be shared with us all in the pages of a future issue of THE FORUM. The BSEF exists to share, and I ask that you help us do so by returning her tear-out-fax/mail-back response form.

A second tear-out-fax/mail-back response form (ballot) in this issue is provided for BSEF members in the Central Region to elect a new Regional Director. Now that our four regional chapters are functioning independently, it is time to implement an orderly system of leadership change. I believe that this, too, is a positive action, and I invite all Central Region recipients of THE FORUM currently on our mailing list, or those wishing to be added, to vote their choice BY MARCH 31st.

This issue also contains a pr?cis of the Fifth Annual BSEF Meeting held in New Orleans last November on the topic Information Overload: Defining Essential Basic Science Curricular Objectives. This two-hour session, convened by Dr. Alix Robinson, featured a presentation by Dr. Kathryn Doig and audience discussion of the new curriculum at Michigan State’s College of Human Medicine. Dr. Michael Cancro then presented some provocative and innovative views regarding “problem sets” as a means of approaching the essentials.

Many of you have already received a first mailing of the program and registration materials for our June 26-29th conference New Educational Strategies for the Basic Sciences, and an additional copy to share with a friend has been enclosed with this issue of our newsletter. This conference has been designed to address new educational strategies in three types of curricula: traditional, case-based, and the rapidly evolving case-based/traditional hybrid. Thus, whatever your educational philosophy or that of your school, there is something to be gained, and I encourage you to join us in Charleston, South Carolina. This will be the first of what I anticipate evolving into Bi-Annual International BSEF Conferences on basic science issues in medical education. These conferences will be unique in that information will be presented by actively teaching faculty, for actively teaching faculty, and the focus will span information of value to individuals from all six traditional pre-clinical disciplines.

The BSEF is a constantly growing organization of dynamic, positive-thinking individuals, and as 1993 stretches before us, we look forward to an exciting year. The diversity of our thoughts and ideas expands logarithmically as we continue to reach out to medical faculty in Central and South America, and now New Zealand, China, and Africa. By attracting medical faculty from these and other countries of the world, we all will benefit from an understanding of differences and similarities of our ideas, opinions, and educational systems. The training of physicians is of universal concern, and of this one thing I am certain – that in whatever part of the world BSEF members live and work, all share the common desire to have their actions produce the positive reaction of developing a better physician to face the challenges of tomorrow.