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Med Teach. 2009 Sep;31(9):855-61.

Restructuring a basic science course for core competencies: an example from anatomy teaching.

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  • 1Mayo Medical School, College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


Medical schools revise their curricula in order to develop physicians best skilled to serve the public's needs. To ensure a smooth transition to residency programs, undergraduate medical education is often driven by the six core competencies endorsed by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME): patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning, interpersonal skills, professionalism, and systems-based practice. Recent curricular redesign at Mayo Medical School provided an opportunity to restructure anatomy education and integrate radiology with first-year gross and developmental anatomy. The resulting 6-week (120-contact-hour) human structure block provides students with opportunities to learn gross anatomy through dissection, radiologic imaging, and embryologic correlation. We report more than 20 educational interventions from the human structure block that may serve as a model for incorporating the ACGME core competencies into basic science and early medical education. The block emphasizes clinically-oriented anatomy, invites self- and peer-evaluation, provides daily formative feedback through an audience response system, and employs team-based learning. The course includes didactic briefing sessions and roles for students as teachers, leaders, and collaborators. Third-year medical students serve as teaching assistants. With its clinical focus and competency-based design, the human structure block connects basic science with best-practice clinical medicine.

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