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Teach Learn Med. 2013;25(4):342-7. doi: 10.1080/10401334.2013.827977.

An integrated virtual family curriculum to introduce specialty-specific clinical skills to rising third-year medical students.

Author information

  • 1a Department of Family Medicine , Alpert Medical School of Brown University , Providence , Rhode Island , USA.



Transitioning from a preclinical to a clinical curriculum can be challenging for medical students. As a central component of a new 3-week transition course, we designed, implemented, and evaluated an innovative Virtual Family Curriculum to introduce rising 3rd-year medical students to the knowledge, skills, and cultures of 6 core medical and surgical specialties.


The authors designed a 6-case, 24-hour, 3-generation Virtual Family Curriculum and a 6-station summative Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). Each case contains a lecture, video, discussion questions, skills practice, and faculty guide. We used both qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods.


Ninety-eight students took the inaugural course in 2012. All students passed the final OSCE. Students rated the virtual family curriculum a 5.17/6 (6 = highest). Comments about the curriculum were uniformly positive.


We created and implemented an integrated Virtual Family Curriculum that systematically teaches specialty-specific knowledge and skills. This curriculum facilitates students' transition to clinical clerkships.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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