Medical Science Educator Volume 12: No. 1

Message from the Editor

Douglas J. Gould, Ph.D.

Over the past several months substantial changes have occurred with our journal. The Basic Science Educator has evolved into the Journal of the International Association of Medical Science Educators (JIAMSE). This change is manifested not only by a new name, but a restructuring and redesign of the journal and all of its Web-Based components. As… Read more »

The Medical Educator’s Resource Guide

John R. Cotter, Ph.D.

For some time now, our school has been investing in high-technology equipped classrooms and workshops that train the faculty in the use of presentation software and other computer applications. The result is that many instructors have digitized their lecture materials and stored them on CD-ROM, ZipTM disks, personal computers or local networks. As a morphologist… Read more »

Why the Basic Sciences?

Edward P. Finnerty, Ph.D., SC (ASCP)

In any field of endeavor requiring manual skills and cognitive judgment, there are two large categories of people. The first are the technicians. They are highly trained in the operation of the equipment or performance of various procedures. Their knowledge and experience is limited to the operational aspects pertinent to their jobs. Though they are… Read more »

United States Medical School Financing: Beyond the Black Box

Barbara Barzansky, Ph.D.

Medicine is expensive to teach. It can in no event be taught out of fees. (Abraham Flexner, 1910, pages 141-142)1 INTRODUCTION During the second half of the twentieth century, medical school financing in the United States underwent major changes as research and then clinical practice became significant sources of revenue. The availability of these revenue… Read more »

Medical Student Use of Computers Correlates with Personality

John A. McNulty1, Ph.D., Baltazar Espiritu2, M.D., Martha Halsey3, M.S.


A recent study evaluating utilization of computer-aided instruction revealed a wide disparity among individual medical student use of computer resources. We tested the hypothesis that the frequency and length of medical student logins to the school??bf?s computer network correlated with their personality preferences. Personality preferences of students (n=236) were obtained using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test. Computer utilization was quantified from network logs that recorded frequency and length of logins to the network. Individual login data were sorted by personality preference and statistically analyzed. Students with personality preferences that included Introversion (vs. Extroversion), iNtuition (vs. Sensing), Thinking (vs. Feeling) and Perceiving (vs. Judging) tended to use computers the most. Groupings of preferences revealed that ??bf?ITP??bf? types logged in significantly more often than ??bf?EFJ??bf? types regardless of the N/S dimension. ??bf?NTP??bf? types logged in for significantly longer time than the ??bf?SFJ??bf? regardless of the E/I dimension. These results suggest that using computers is not a natural inclination for many students, which may account for the wide disparity in student use of computer-aided learning.

Assessment of an Online Learning Objective Answer Database

Douglas J. Gould, Ph.D. and Brian R. MacPherson, Ph.D.


The objective of the present study was to create and evaluate an on-line learning objective answer database. The goal of the answer database was to make information about, and/or answers to, learning objectives that students were provided with in their lecture notes available to them anytime. Our hypothesis was threefold: i) that student satisfaction with the availability and access to the learning objective answers would be high, ii) that having the answers made available to them would not affect student performance in the course, raising or lowering, the class average artificially, and iii) that less instructor time would be spent discussing routine issues/questions, freeing up office hours to deal with students with more serious problems with the course content. The answer database was created using Filemaker Pro 4.1 R and housed on Macintosh computers in faculty members’ offices. The effectiveness of the database was evaluated over a 3-year period and compared with the previous 3-year period in which the database was not used. Evaluation methods included student and faculty surveys and numerical assessments of overall course and database rating and average course grades. Results indicate that there is no significant difference in student satisfaction and grades with or without the database, while faculty time spent in office hours and answering routine questions is decreased.

Neuropharmacology of Selected Herbal Substances: A Learning Module for Patient-Physician Interaction and Interviewing Course

Gloria A. Casale,1 M.D. and Harold H. Traurig,2 Ph.D.


The content and outcomes of a learning module, which focuses on the issues of patient self-medication and physician-patient communication, is described. The stimulus for discussion examines patient self-medication with herbal substances commonly used to address neurological complaints. The module is best employed in small group settings with a faculty facilitator. Student learning outcomes are: recognize the importance of patient self-medication behaviors and of obtaining a complete medication history, understand the concept of untoward effects of medications, recognize the quality of clinical data available on alternative and complementary drug therapies, and understand the physiological effects of four herbal substances commonly used by patients for self-medication.

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