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The annual meeting of the Northeast GEA will be in Baltimore, MD, from Monday, March 30 through Wednesday, April 1, 1992. Co-chairs of the Spring meeting are Larrie Greenburg, M.D. and Simeon Margolis, Ph.D. The theme for the spring meeting is one that should appeal to all regional members of the BSEF, “Integrating Basic Science and Clinical Education: Breaking Down the Barriers”.

An opening plenary session will address the question, “Why is it important to integrate basic and clinical science education?” Respondents will include a basic scientist, a clinician, and a medical student. This will be followed by a break out into groups containing basic scientists, clinicians, students, and people from medical education and deans’ offices, who will plan a mini-curriculum in a specific area. On the second day, speakers and groups will address the questions of how to do the integration, who should teach, and how to evaluate. On the third day there will by a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and others funding research in medical education. There will also be an Innovations in Medical Education section for everyone to present their latest information on research in medical education.

A good turnout of Basic Science Education Forum members for the Northeast GEA spring meeting will ensure a successful meeting of our Northeast SIG chapter. Please call (315/464-5870) or write to me (Department of Microbiology/Immunology, SUNY Health Science Center, Syracuse, NY 13210) if your plan to attend and would like to participate in our SIG activities.


In April, 1991, the Basic Science Education Forum of the Southern Region held a workshop on the impact of the new NBME Step 1 exam on teaching in the first 2 years of medical school. The discussion was lively and centered around the following topics: Our role as educators, what member schools are doing to prepare students for this exam, and to assist students who do not pass. About half the schools in attendance already had a requirement that the students pass the NBME Part I exam and they were a valuable resource for the workshop participants who had no such position on exam passage. The ensuing discussion revealed the following points.

1.Schools that require passage usually give their students 2-3 weeks “off” just before the exam to prepare. Most do not have formal review programs, but have a few faculty lectures, office hours, etc. during that time.

2.At most schools in the Southern Region, students that fail in June are required to repeat the exam in September. They may be put on leave until the scores are in, or they may not, this varies. If they fail in September (a very small number) they sit out the third year and prepare for the June exam.

3.The schools in which passing Part I is optional, reported that they are in the process of re-evaluating this position, and have not developed contingency policies as yet.


This past April at the Central Region GEA Spring Meeting, the Basic Science Education SIG hosted the Clinical Science Education SIG in the first inter-SIG session. The topic was Defusing the M.D./Ph.D. Adversarial Relationship. Our goal was to explore from both perspectives the causes of real and perceived animosities within the academic environment, and to develop methods for resolution which may be readily implemented by the individual faculty member. The audience, comprised of approximately equal numbers of M.D.’s and Ph.D.’s (some Ed.D.’s), interacted, often vigorously, with the panel of two Ph.D.’s and two M.D.’s engaging in mock argumentation. Several ideas were generated for any individual to overcome these barriers to academic professionalism.

The problem was reduced to two words: Communication and Integration. Separation of roles, responsibilities, and specific disciplines, fostered by the 2 + 2 division of the traditional medical curriculum significantly reduces the opportunity for M.D.-Ph.D. interaction and mutual understanding. The following recommendations for action resulted.

*Invite an M.D. (or Ph.D.) to lunch to discuss your discipline as it relates to his/her specialty.

*Create/modify a seminar program or journal club to highlight topics with specific appeal to both graduate and medical students.

*Enhance/implement efforts at your school to integrate the four year student learning experience.

*Summer stipends support medical students in research laboratories. Even brief opportunities give medical students a greater appreciation for the origin of medical knowledge, and thus a better understanding of those who seek it.

*Enhance/implement basic science electives within your school.

*Consider how your discipline might impact the residency training program.


The issues surrounding Basic Science education in medial schools are becoming more important as the calls for greater integration of the basic science and clinical medicine and more “relevance” in basic science education increase. We, basic scientists, must not wait to enter the discussions of these issues for if we do, the decisions may be made before we are able to have our say. We believe the BSEF provides the opportunity and platform for all basic science disciplines to develop consensus on these and other important medical education issues and prepare ourselves for the discussions which are sure to follow. Consequently, the Western Region of the Basic Science Education Forum is planning a membership drive for the fall.

The Robert Wood Johnson initiative to foster change in medical education has initiated a renewed interest in educational reform at many medical schools across the U.S.A. The experience at the University of New Mexico and, I’m sure, many other schools across the country indicate that we basic scientists need to begin to discuss among ourselves what scientific elements are essential for a good medical education. Furthermore, it seems clear that we need to better understand how and the extent to which our basic sciences are applied in clinical practice. If integration of basic science and clinical education is the goal, a lot of effort is needed to accomplish the task