Medical Science Educator Volume 10: No. 1 & 2


J. Charles Eldridge, Ph.D.

We are excited and pleased to announce that, beginning with this issue of Volume 10, The Basic Science Educator is being published on line, at the website of the International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE). It had become painfully apparent to the IAMSE Board of Directors, and to the Publications Committee, that the costs… Read more »

The Standardized Patient Assessment Examination: Integration with the Basic Sciences Curriculum

Robert P. Schwartz, M.D.1, M. Leigh Cameron, M.Ed.2, Kevin Brewer3, Barbara Gorney, Ph.D. 2, George Nowacek, Ph.D. 2 and Cam Enarson, M.D.2


The standardized patient assessment examination (SPA) is an integral part of the new Prescription for Excellence: A Physicians Pathway to Lifelong Learning curriculum at Wake Forest University School of Medicine (WFUSM). It consists of two parts: Part I is an exercise in which the student takes a complete history and performs a physical examination on a standardized patient. In Part II the student gives a 2-hour oral presentation of his/her clinical reasoning process and presents a basic science discussion on a topic related to the case. Although WFUSM had been doing standardized patient assessments since 1987, they involved only 25% of the medical school class. In 1998 the exercise was expanded to include the entire medical school class of 108 students. This created logistical challenges related to facilities, cost, recruitment of standardized patients, and faculty to supervise the exercises. In addition, changes were made in the process to allow more integration of the clinical cases with the basic science curriculum. Although these exercises are extremely time consuming and labor intensive for faculty and staff, they are felt to measure reasoning skills not examined in other parts of the curriculum, and emphasize the importance of relating clinical situations back to the basic sciences.

Fourth Year Medical Students are Effective Case Discussion Leaders

Uldis N. Streips Ph.D. and Ronald M. Atlas Ph.D.*

*Current position-Dean, Graduate School, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY ABSTRACT Medical seniors have been used extensively as discussion leaders in small group settings for sophomore Medical Microbiology students. There is a benefit for both the seniors and the sophomores. In addition, this obviates the need for faculty discussion leaders. INTRODUCTION Clinical case presentation is an… Read more »

Student and Faculty Attitudes Towards a Neurosciences PBL Pilot in a Traditional Curriculum

Chris Candler, M.D. and Robert Blair, Ph.D.


This paper describes a Neurosciences PBL pilot project at The University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. It is noteworthy in that it describes how, with few resources a PBL experience was successfully infused into a conventional discipline-based curriculum. The authors describe assessment and logistical challenges. Student and facilitator attitudes and faculty effort are discussed.

Computerized Testing and the United States Medical

Robert Galbraith, M.D.

MANAGING EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is from an oral presentation given on July 20, 1999 during the Fourth IAMSE Association Meeting held at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, DC. INTRODUCTION I will first address the current status of Computer-Based Testing (CBT) for United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1, which is always… Read more »


ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Marshall Anderson, Ph.D.

Problem-Based Learning (PBL) has been the ‘buzz word’ in medical education for some time now. Many medical schools throughout the world have revised their curriculum to include more problem-solving sessions and active learning type formats. Basic scientists are often skeptical of PBL because of their perceived lack of clinical knowledge. In the following article, Joseph… Read more »

An Electronic Mail Tutorial to Teach Problem Solving in Pharmacology

Joseph Goldfarb, Ph.D.

INTRODUCTION Over the past few decades medical schools in both the United States and Great Britain have been urged to decrease lecture hours and use formats that foster problem solving and self-learning.1-4 One response has been the increased use of small group exercises in which students are provided with a case description, a journal article,… Read more »



The beauty of the Web is that information on any subject can be easily obtained without leaving the office or home. Anyone who has used a search engine however understands that searching the Internet for information often leads to the hundreds, perhaps thousands of “hits” and that culling and identifying the most useful sites from… Read more »

Basic Science Educator
Instructions for Contributors

General Contributions to the Basic Science Educator are encouraged from all who seek to have their information reach an audience of basic science course directors, members of the basic science faculty, clerkship directors, attending physicians, curriculum planners, residency directors, and all those involved with the teaching or administration of the medical sciences throughout the continuum… Read more »

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