Curriculum Renewal in Child Psychiatry
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OBJECTIVE: To ensure uniform design and evaluation of a clerkship curriculum for child and adolescent psychiatry teaching common disorders and problems in an efficient manner across 5 teaching sites and to include structures for continuous improvement. METHOD: The curriculum committee selected for course inclusion disorders and problems of child psychiatry that were commonly encountered by primary care physicians. Instruction methods that encouraged active student learning were selected. Course coordination across sites was encouraged by several methods: involving faculty, adopting a centralized examination format, and aligning teaching methods with examination format. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used to measure students' perceptions of the course's value. These evaluative results were reviewed, and course modifications were implemented and reevaluated. RESULTS: The average adjusted student return rate for course evaluation questionnaires for the 3-year study period was 63%. Clerks' ratings of course learning value demonstrated that the course improved significantly and continually across all sites, according to a Scheffé post-hoc analysis. Analysis of student statements from focus-group transcripts contributed to course modifications, such as the Brief Focused Interview (BFI). CONCLUSIONS: Our curriculum in child psychiatry, which focused on common problems and used active learning methods, was viewed as a valuable learning experience by clinical clerks. Curriculum coordination across multiple teaching sites was accomplished by including faculty in the process and by using specific teaching and examination strategies. Structures for continuous course improvement were effective.
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