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BMC Med Educ. 2008 Mar 6;8:11. doi: 10.1186/1472-6920-8-11.

A web-based Alcohol Clinical Training (ACT) curriculum: is in-person faculty development necessary to affect teaching?

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Clinical Addiction Research and Education (CARE) Unit, Section of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA.



Physicians receive little education about unhealthy alcohol use and as a result patients often do not receive efficacious interventions. The objective of this study is to evaluate whether a free web-based alcohol curriculum would be used by physician educators and whether in-person faculty development would increase its use, confidence in teaching and teaching itself.


Subjects were physician educators who applied to attend a workshop on the use of a web-based curriculum about alcohol screening and brief intervention and cross-cultural efficacy. All physicians were provided the curriculum web address. Intervention subjects attended a 3-hour workshop including demonstration of the website, modeling of teaching, and development of a plan for using the curriculum. All subjects completed a survey prior to and 3 months after the workshop.


Of 20 intervention and 13 control subjects, 19 (95%) and 10 (77%), respectively, completed follow-up. Compared to controls, intervention subjects had greater increases in confidence in teaching alcohol screening, and in the frequency of two teaching practices - teaching about screening and eliciting patient health beliefs. Teaching confidence and teaching practices improved significantly in 9 of 10 comparisons for intervention, and in 0 comparisons for control subjects. At follow-up 79% of intervention but only 50% of control subjects reported using any part of the curriculum (p = 0.20).


In-person training for physician educators on the use of a web-based alcohol curriculum can increase teaching confidence and practices. Although the web is frequently used for dissemination, in-person training may be preferable to effect widespread teaching of clinical skills like alcohol screening and brief intervention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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