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Australas J Dermatol. 2017 Aug;58(3):e73-e78. doi: 10.1111/ajd.12486. Epub 2016 May 4.

Dermatology teaching in Australian Medical Schools.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Adelaide and Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.
Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Adelaide Skin and Eye Centre, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.



Although skin disease and skin cancers cause significant morbidity and mortality in Australia, limited time is dedicated to dermatology teaching in most medical courses. The aim of this study was to define the current state of dermatology teaching in Australian medical schools with a view to developing a national core curriculum for dermatology.


An electronic questionnaire was circulated to the dermatology teaching leads and relevant medical program coordinators of the 18 medical schools in Australia.


Replies were received from 17 medical schools. Dermatology was included as part of the core curriculum in 15 schools. Time set aside for dermatology teaching varied, as reflected by the number of lectures delivered (0-21, mean 5, median 3) and minimum clinics attended (0-10, mean 1.2, median 0). Only four medical schools had a compulsory clinical attachment in dermatology. Furthermore, satisfying requirements in dermatology was mentioned in the university examination regulations in only six schools. Certain core learning outcomes were addressed in most schools, including the structure and function of the skin, common conditions such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis and cutaneous malignancies. However, there were important omissions, ranging from common problems like dermatophyte infections and drug reactions to the recognition of dermatological emergencies.


These results are a compelling impetus to improve current standards of dermatology teaching, learning and assessment. The introduction of a national core curriculum would provide guidelines for dermatology teaching in medical schools, enabling the more effective utilisation of available time for key learning outcomes.


curriculum; dermatology; learning; medical education; medical schools; teaching; undergraduate

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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