Medical Science Educator Volume 20: No. 1

Message from Editor-in-Chief

Uldis N. Streips, Ph.D.

Welcome to the first issue of volume 20 of JIAMSE. As always, we have a variety of manuscripts to present to the reading public. I am sure everyone will find something to learn or apply in this issue. We, more than any other published journal, have papers which describe utilizable information that can be integrated into your curricula and courses. There is rarely an issue where there aren’t a couple of papers that I forward to people in my educational circle and often find emails thanking me for the information. I am sure many of you reading this issue are either doing or have in mind educational advances for your courses and curricula. These would be useful to everyone at IAMSE and beyond and we would be happy to consider them for publication. Send them to me and our review process is extremely user-friendly. I look forward to many submissions!

All best,

Uldis N. Streips, Ph.D.
Editor-in-Chief, JIAMSE

The Development of an Interclerkship Curriculum on Methamphetamine Abuse and Dependence

Kathryn N. Huggett1, Eugene J. Barone2, Amanda S. Lofgreen1 & William B. Jeffries2


Methamphetamine abuse is a significant medical problem in our region. We developed and investigated an interclerkship curriculum to educate medical students about the significance of methamphetamine abuse and dependence and its effects on the individual and society. Topics covered include neuropathology, neuropharmacology, diagnosis, treatment, law enforcement issues and social services.

A Group Comparison Between Swedish MD-PhDs of 1991 and 2000

Lars H. Breimer


About 70% of Swedish MDs who passed their PhD in 1991 and 2000 published papers in English during the last three years. The proportions with three or more and with 10 or more publications were significantly less in the 2000 than in the 1991 cohort. A smaller proportion of those of 2000 than of 1991 had moved to universities other than where they did their PhD. The age at PhD was skewed towards the older end in the more recent cohort. About 40% of the external examiners of the theses were based abroad. Explanations for the pattern of their publications and changed pattern of working are discussed, including issues of mobility and career opportunities. It is worth encouraging medical students and doctors to engage in research but resources must be provided including opportunities to move to other universities to encourage a broader development.

Teaching Anatomy and Pathology using MP3 Audio Tours at the Leiden Museum for Anatomy and Pathology

Peter G.M. de Jong, Alien W. Riedstra, Luuk N.A. Willems & Jan H, Bolk


This paper reports the development of an audio tour through the Museum for Anatomy and Pathology at Leiden Medical School. Hands-on teaching in Anatomy and Pathology is decreasing and unfortunately faculties do not have enough time to provide small group teaching using the outstanding collection of the museum. With the audio tour students can study specific topics and materials in an individual way without the need of intense faculty support. The study shows that audio tours are an effective way to make an existing collection of specimens accessible to students.

Improving First-year Medical Student Performance with Individualized Learning Strategies

Susan Kies & Adam Martinsek


Despite the greatest efforts of our Admissions Committee, every year students are admitted to medical school who, despite their excellent applications, start medical school and perform poorly when faced with the rigors of the first year (M-1) curriculum. As the pace of medical school studies ramps up with the unfolding semester, some of these students develop serious academic deficits. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, faculty have questioned the student understanding of their personal learning systems and have found many students have not developed learning strategies that lead to efficient and effective learning.

The goal of this study was to apply statistical analysis to M-1 student performance data for one academic year to determine the impact of the Lifelong Learning Strategies course on M-1 students who had performed poorly on the initial examination.

Students were enrolled in a 6-week course and their performance during their M-1 years was compared to those who were not enrolled in the course. Analysis of the change in performance included t-Test comparisons of group performance.

The Lifelong Learning Strategies course appears to have a positive impact on student academic performance.

Feasibility and Acceptability of a Technology-Based Geriatric Training Program for Third Year Rural Medicine Students Web vs. PDA use in Rural Medicine Clerkship

Marisol Sanchez-Lance, Richard Sims, Kathryn L. Burgio & Lesa Woodby


Purpose: The purpose of the project was to examine the feasibility and acceptability of a technology-based geriatric training program for third-year Family Medicine (FM) students.

A one-group, pre-post intervention study was conducted between 2004 and 2005. Participants were 24 third-year medical students , assigned to rural FM practices, in which at least 30% of the patients were 65 years of age or older. Students were taught to access Geriatrics at Your Fingertips and other geriatric assessment tools, using internet and Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)-based formats. Case studies were reviewed to illustrate their utility. Students were emailed weekly for progress reports and electronic logs of their older patient encounters. Students completed baseline questionnaires to assess their familiarity and comfort level using internet and PDA. After the rotation, they completed questionnaires about the helpfulness and feasibility of using this educational technology.

At baseline, all students felt confident using the web and 96% felt confident using a PDA. These results remained unchanged after the rotation. After the intervention, 96% used the web to access medical information, and 100% used a PDA. Almost all of the students reported that geriatric assessment modules on the PDA enhanced their diagnostic and assessment skills for older patients; while 46% were undecided or felt that the web-based modules were not feasible in a busy rural practice.

Technology-based geriatrics education in rural FM practice is feasible and acceptable to third-year students. Geriatric assessment modules on the PDA were perceived to enhance older adult encounters at the point of care.

A Web-based Module on Lymphoma for Senior Medical Students: Benefits for Learning

Gary M. Velan, Melinda Lattimore, Robert Lindeman & Rakesh K. Kumar


A randomized controlled trial was employed to evaluate the learning benefits of a web-based module on the topic of lymphoma for senior medical students. PowerPoint files imported into Adobe Captivate™ were used to author an interactive web-based module on lymphoma, a topic of high perceived difficulty for medical students. Senior medical students matched for academic ability and gender were randomized to a control or study group (each n=11), then given two weeks to explore a list of traditional teaching resources on lymphoma. In addition, the study group had access to the module. A web-based post-test and questionnaire were used to evaluate outcomes. Differences between groups were evaluated using paired t-tests and linear regression analyses. Students in the study group performed significantly better in the post-test than the control group (mean 77.9% vs. 61%, p=0.024). Time spent studying the topic of lymphoma in the study period did not differ significantly between groups. Feedback on the module was overwhelmingly positive, and perceptions of the difficulty of the topic by students in the study group decreased significantly. The web-based lymphoma module significantly improved medical student understanding and confidence regarding this topic. This has implications for the use of similar modules for other topics in Pathology with a high perceived level of difficulty.

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