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South Med J. 2012 Apr;105(4):207-10. doi: 10.1097/SMJ.0b013e31824fb9a4.

Orthopedic surgery postgraduate year 1 intern curriculum improves initial orthopedic in-training examination performance.

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  • 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40202, USA.



To determine the efficacy of an educational curriculum designed for orthopedic surgery postgraduate year 1 (PGY-1) interns to improve initial Orthopedic In-Training Examination (OITE) performance.


A retrospective cohort study was performed that evaluated the PGY-1 intern OITE performance of one residency training program (n = 55) during 7-year periods before (1996-2002) and after structured curriculum implementation (2003-2009).


Linear regression analysis revealed insignificant changes in median PGY-1 intern OITE percentile rank during the precurriculum period (R = 0.08, P = 0.53). Postcurriculum period comparisons revealed significantly improving PGY-1 intern OITE percentile rank (R = 0.46, P = 0.048). Pre- and postcurriculum median US Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step I scores did not display statistically significant differences (218.2 ± 6.6 vs 229.1 ± 13.8, Mann-Whitney U test, z = -1.5, P = 0.10). Spearman rho correlations revealed a moderate relation (r = 0.61) between postcurriculum PGY-1 intern OITE percentile rank and USMLE Step I score, but not during the precurriculum period. A moderate relation (r = 0.50) also was observed between postcurriculum USMLE Step I score and average OITE percentile rank during the 5-year residency program, but not during the precurriculum period.


PGY-1 intern OITE percentile rank improved significantly with the addition of a specially designed educational curriculum. The stronger USMLE Step I score and PGY-1 intern OITE percentile rank relation observed during the postcurriculum period suggests that interns who participated in the educational curriculum were better prepared to translate general medical and patient care knowledge into orthopedic surgery knowledge.

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