Education first: reforming the first-year curriculum of the internal medicine residency

William Gustin, Romilla Batra, Alpesh Amin, Lloyd Rucker
Academic Medicine 2009, 84 (3): 368-73
Many opinion leaders of the academic internal medicine community have expressed concern about the adequacy of internal medicine (IM) residency training to prepare residents for their careers and to attract medical students to IM residency programs. In response to those concerns, several core organizations have prepared reports and issued significant recommendations suggesting comprehensive reform and restructuring of IM training programs.The authors discuss their approach, strategy, and efforts to restructure the first year in the IM residency training program at the University of California, Irvine. They point out that educators have often viewed the internship as a rite of passage, heavy with inpatient service commitment. However, in the authors' view, the current trend to residents' early subspecialty commitment has made it imperative that the first year of IM residency be more focused, standardized, meaningful, and effective in order to achieve core educational goals before each resident's career focus has become too narrowed and while the big picture is more apparent. The authors describe in detail their review of their first-year curriculum based on consensus goals and objectives. This process led to a restructuring of the first year that places emphasis on a defined educational model and a central core curriculum. The authors conclude that residency program leaders can restructure the first year to provide a model of education that includes appropriate educational experiences as well as meaningful time for reflection and professional growth.

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