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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2012 Nov;136(11):1430-6. doi: 10.5858/arpa.2011-0539-EP.

Successful implementation of a longitudinal, integrated pathology curriculum during the third year of medical school.

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Department of Pathology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 330 Brookline Ave, Yamins 309, Boston, MA 02215, USA.



There are few published examples of pathology instruction during the clinical years of medical student training. This lack of exposure to pathology may lead to poor understanding of laboratory testing and the role of pathologists in patient care.


To design, implement, and evaluate a pathology curriculum integrated into a longitudinal clerkship for third-year medical students.


The curriculum includes an introductory session during the transition week course, pathologist participation in longitudinal student case conferences, and a pathology elective. The curriculum was evaluated by using surveys consisting of both multiple choice and written responses.


A total of 55 students participated in the longitudinal curriculum during the 2009-2010 academic year and 8 students, only one of whom stated a career interest in pathology, participated in the elective. More than 80 pathology topics were discussed and, for the first time, pathologists received teaching awards from the third-year students. All elective students would recommend the elective to colleagues; feedback also suggested an improved understanding of pathology as a profession. At the end of the year, 31% of all students, compared to only 19% in the initial survey, knew that most of an anatomic pathologist's caseload consists of specimens from living patients (P  =  .13). In addition, elective student interaction with a pathology faculty member directly led to an improvement in test reporting.


A novel longitudinal curriculum allowed for the creative integration of pathology into third-year students' clinical training and led to better student understanding of the role of pathologists in patient care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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