Clinic teaching made easy: a prospective study of the American Academy of Dermatology core curriculum in primary care learners

Patrick E McCleskey
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2013, 69 (2): 273-9

BACKGROUND: Dermatology instruction for primary care learners is limited, and the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has developed a new core curriculum for dermatology.

OBJECTIVE: This study sought to prospectively evaluate short-term knowledge acquisition and long-term knowledge retention after using the AAD core curriculum during a clinical dermatology clerkship.

METHODS: Resident physicians and physician assistant students performing clerkships at military dermatology clinics were given access to the AAD core curriculum teaching modules before their public availability. Knowledge acquisition was measured with pretests and posttests, and a follow-up quiz was given up to a year after the dermatology rotation to assess knowledge retention.

RESULTS: In all, 82 primary care learners met inclusion criteria. Knowledge improved significantly from pretest to posttest (60.1 vs 77.4, P < .01). Of the 10 factors evaluated, only high use of the World Wide Web site was significantly associated with improved posttest scores (70.8 vs 82.2, P = .003). Long-term follow-up scores available from 38 participants were only slightly lower than their posttest scores (70.5 vs 78.9, P < .01) at a median time of 6.8 months after the clerkship. Students found the online modules clear, engaging, and worth their time and preferred them to other teaching methods such as textbook reading and lectures.

LIMITATIONS: The nonrandomized study was voluntary, so individual performance may be influenced by selection bias.

CONCLUSION: The more learners used the online curriculum, the better they scored on the posttest. This demonstrates the efficacy of the AAD core curriculum in teaching its goals and objectives for primary care learners performing a dermatology clerkship.

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