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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Web-based pharmacology cases for Cardiovascular System 1 and Renal System 1

  • Author(s): Dern, Kathryn
  • et al.

Undergraduate medical education is constantly evolving to develop new, effective, engaging teaching methods. An integrated medical school curriculum correlates the basic and clinical sciences beginning in the first year in order to engage students, develop clinical reasoning skills, and prepare them for their clinical experiences. Contextualization, in which clinical case examples are used to illustrate basic science principles, is one strategy used to achieve this goal. In addition to changes in the structure of medical school curricula, the platforms by which educational material is delivered are also rapidly changing. Web-based applications, including podcasts and virtual interactive cases, provide endless opportunities to present information in efficient and interesting formats and encourage self-directed learning by students. Pharmacology is an area of preclerkship education that is particularly challenging to medical students. One reason for this is the fact that students begin learning clinical pharmacology in the first year, prior to learning detailed pathophysiology of the diseases being treated; without clinical context, learning pharmacology can feel little more than memorization of names and mechanisms. The UCSD School of Medicine Integrated Scientific Curriculum addresses these challenges by through a two-pass curriculum, whereby pharmacology is introduced with physiology and basic pathophysiology in Year 1, and reiterated with pathophysiology as the focus in Year 2; however, pharmacology still remains a difficult subject for many medical students. Cardiovascular System 1 (CS1) and Renal System 1 (RS1) have been identified as courses in the first-year curriculum that would benefit from additional supplemental pharmacology resources.

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