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Learning outcomes from a biomedical research course for second year osteopathic medical students

Author(s): Cruser des Anges | Brown Sarah | Ingram Jessica | Podawiltz Alan | Dubin Bruce | Colston John | Bulik Robert

Journal: Osteopathic Medicine and Primary Care
ISSN 1750-4732

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 4;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Abstract Background A ubiquitous dilemma in medical education continues to be whether and how to integrate research competencies into the predoctoral curriculum. Understanding research concepts is imbedded in the six core competencies for physicians, but predoctoral medical education typically does not explicitly include research education. In an effort to quickly report academic research findings to the field, this is the second in a series of articles reporting the outcomes of a research education initiative at one college of osteopathic medicine. The first article described the competency model and reported baseline performance in applied understanding of targeted research concepts. This second article reports on the learning outcomes from the inaugural year of a course in basic biomedical research concepts. Methods This course consisted of 24 total hours of classroom lectures augmented with web-based materials using Blackboard Vista, faculty moderated student presentations of research articles, and quizzes. To measure changes in applied understanding of targeted research concepts in the inaugural year of the course, we administered a pretest and a posttest to second year students who took the course and to first year students who took an informatics course in the same academic year. Results We analyzed 154 matched pretests and posttests representing 56% of the 273 first and second year students. On average, the first year (53) and second year students (101) did not differ in their mean pretest scores. At posttest the second year students showed significant improvement in their applied understanding of the concepts, whereas the first year students' mean posttest score was lower than their mean pretest score. Conclusions This biomedical research course appears to have increased the second year students' applied understanding of the targeted biomedical research concepts. This assessment of learning outcomes has facilitated the quality improvement process for the course, and improved our understanding of how to measure the benefits of research education for medical students. Some of the course content and methods, and the outcome measures may need to be approached differently in the future to more effectively lay the foundation for osteopathic medical students to utilize these concepts in the clinical setting.

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