Background: Input from both basic science and clinical faculty members is needed to promote further integration of medical curricula. Purpose: To assess current views of clerkship directors about the role and relationship of the basic sciences to clinical years in medical education. Methods: As part of the 2002 Annual CDIM Survey, questions regarding basic science curriculum were included; 89 of 123 CDIM members responded (72%). Results: Overall, respondents felt participation from both basic science and clinical faculty members is necessary to define basic science course content. Nearly 89% of clerkship directors indicated curricular review should be collaborative and interdepartmental; 93% felt that this review effort should occur frequently. Supporting the growing philosophy that the structure of the preclinical years should involve increased clinically relevant integration, 58% favored an integrated organ system approach rather than the traditional departmental structure (18%). In addition, in order of ranking, respondents felt that small group (M = 2.0 ± 0.9) and problem-based learning (M = 2.1 ± 1.1) are better approaches than the standard lecture format (M = 2.8 ± 1.2). Although clerkship directors recognized the need for increased clinical input in the preclinical years, many reported a lack of knowledge regarding the amount of clinical exposure students received in the basic science years (33%), frequency of peer review of the basic science courses (20%), and who performed peer review of the basic science courses at their institution (36%). Conclusion: Medical clerkship directors believe that basic science education should be developed collaboratively, organized by organ system, and presented in small groups.
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