Medical Science Educator Volume 19: No. 2

Message From the Editor-In-Chief

Uldis N. Streips, Ph.D.

Hello all JIAMSE readers!

We are now in the second issue of volume 19 of the Journal. As we have started this year, all publications are represented in this issue. I hope the information will be useful for you at your school and in the job you do. I always pick up something I can do better in the course I direct from reading the material submitted to JIAMSE.

I urge you all to think about educational research. Many medical schools are utilizing educators extensively, whose tenure and promotion depends on a portfolio of publication and presentation. Our journal review system is very user-friendly and lots of help is available for the authors from our tireless editorial board. Our production editor, Marshall Anderson, is also superb and your work will be published in the best format possible. All our published material, including Letters to the Editor is peer-reviewed thoroughly.

So, I wish you all good reading, good application of the ideas you read about, and I look forward to the manuscripts you will be sending my way.

Uldis N. Streips, Ph.D.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Response to “Between God and Man: A Student’s Dilemma”

Edward C. Halperin, M.D, M.A.

There are multiple interesting ways where religion and medicine intersect. These range from the role of faith traditions in medical decision-making, theological medical ethics, randomized clinical trials of intercessory prayer, and the religious needs of healthcare providers and students. The case before us concerns accommodation and advocating for a Muslim medical student who seeks to observe his faith traditions including religious holidays, fasts, and daily prayer.

In my opinion, it is important for medical students to learn to address problems such as the one described in “Between God and Man” in a thoughtful and respectful fashion. To this end, we have created a new mandatory course for second-year medical students at the University of Louisville entitled “At the Intersection of Religion and Medicine.” Through case presentations, panel discussions, and correlative readings, we address issues such as the one raised in this case.

There are, of course, many examples of the “student’s dilemma” beyond that of the Muslim student. These include observant Jewish students who wish to wear a skull cap, the wearing of head coverings by Muslim female medical students, practical difficulties related to the desire of Muslim or Jewish students to have Halal or Kosher food, the need of students of various faith traditions to observe their religious holidays (the differing dates for Christmas, for example, between the Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions and the Eastern Orthodox traditions).

One must, or course, be respectful of the diverse faith traditions of medical students. Ultimately, however, our young Muslim student will come to appreciate the primacy of the patient’s needs and will have to adapt his faith observation to patient care.

In the same way that some religious-based hospitals have sought in the past to attract house officers by accommodating their religious needs, I think it is very likely as the United States becomes an increasingly diverse society that we will see internship and residency programs designed to meet the needs of the observant Muslim student.

The Medical Educator’s Resource Guide

John R. Cotter, Ph.D.

This issue of the Medical Educator’s Resource Guide introduces us to websites concerned with embryology, the inner ear, radiology and eponyms.

Besides providing mini lessons on several aspects of embryological development, the developer of Human Embryology Animations, Dr. Valerie O’Loughlin, uses pre- and posts-tests to measure learning and a survey to evaluate the effectiveness of the instructional content and the animations used in the lessons. Participation in the practice tests, the post-tests and the survey is entirely anonymous and not required by the author.

It should be noted that the use of Lieberman’s eRadiology is strictly limited by the terms and conditions set forth by the author. The restrictions serve as a reminder that a website cannot always be used freely even when the user only wishes to use the site or some aspect of the site for educational purposes.

The intent of Who Named It? is to provide background information on the men and women in science and medicine for which diseases, anatomical structures, tests and so on are named. Thus far, the website reports having over eight thousand eponyms, and with time, the number of entries is expected to nearly double.

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.

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

INNOVATION: Mock Malpractice Trial Format Tests Students’ Clinical Case Presentation Skills

Darshana Shah, Ph.D.* and A. Betts Carpenter, Ph.D.


Marshall University, JCESOM’s second-year medical students worked in teams to debate the validity and interpretation of clinical-pathologic findings in a “mock-medical malpractice trial” setting. This teaching format is based on the principles of teamwork and critical thinking. Student feedback on this approach to clinical case-based teaching was overwhelmingly positive.

MEDICAL EDUCATION CASE STUDY: The Case of the “Disruptive Learner”: A Small Group Facilitator’s Nightmare

Jack R. Scott, Ed.D., M.P.H.


Small group learning involves pre-clinical students solving problems that potentially integrate basic medical science and clinically related correlates. However, a disruptive learner detracts and undermines the effective learning group process, necessitating the content or non-content expert facilitator to guide, challenge, offer feedback, and intervene when the process falters.

COMMENTARY: Techniques for Effective Teaching of a Medical School Course on Biostatistics and Epidemiology

Bart K. Holland, M.P.H., Ph.D., Marian R. Passannante, Ph.D.


A medical school course on biostatistics and epidemiology can be effective and popular, as long as the concepts and applications needed by medical students are carefully addressed – and illustrated by vivid, clinically-relevant examples and demonstrations. The authors present their approach to teaching, and some specific techniques and teaching tips, based on more than two decades worth of experience during which they have developed a course praised by the students for clinical relevance.

SHORT COMMUNICATION: Change in Laptop Use Over 4 Years; an Indicative Study at Leiden Medical School

Peter G.M. de Jong1, Ph.D., and Jan H. Bolk2, M.D., Ph.D.


At the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, laptop computers were introduced in medical education starting September 2000. This introduction was performed bottom-up (at student level) at a time when the educational program and individual faculty members were not prepared for this innovation. In this article the authors studied the changes in student use and perceptions of laptop computers in the period 2001-2005. They found that faculty had to adapt their teaching styles and educational programs before the laptops could be used most efficiently. Also students needed some time to discover the benefits of the laptop. Currently, the use of laptop computers is well integrated into teaching and learning.

Faculty and Student Attitudes Towards and Use of Technology in a Technology Enhanced Integrated Medical School Curriculum

Anthony M. Paolo, Ph.D., Giulia A. Bonaminio, Ph.D., Michael Karr, B.FA., James L. Fishback, M.D., Amal Latif, M.S., Glendon G. Cox, M.D.


Technology is increasingly used in medical education. This study describes student and faculty attitudes toward and use of tablet PCs, electronic textbooks, and video podcasts in a technology-enhanced integrated curriculum.

A survey concerning the use of technology was collected at the end of each semester for the graduating class of 2010. Faculty completed a technology survey at the middle and end of the second year. Analyses consisted of descriptive statistics and proportional analyses were used to determine significant differences.

Most students took lecture notes directly on the table PC with less than 3% using paper and pencil. The use of specialized note taking software dropped over time from 73% to 51%, while the use of Microsoft Word increased from 5% to 16%. Students that wrote notes directly on the tablet PC remained relatively constant, while those that typed increased from 38% to 60%. Podcasting of lectures was popular, but lecture attendance dropped over time. While student preference for electronic textbooks increased over time, most students would buy print or a combination of print and electronic textbooks. Most faculty reported that having computers in learning activities enhanced the learning process and indicated that the electronic textbooks were easy to integrate into their learning activities.

Students and faculty were generally satisfied with the technologies and the student use of the technologies changed over time. If technology can enhance the learning environment, then we should embrace it because our students have.

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