On changing curricula: Lessons learned at two dissimilar medical schools

George M. Bernier, Sheldon Adler, Steven Kanter, Walter J. Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Two dissimilar U.S. medical schools - the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston - changed their curricula for the first two years of medical education from ones that were lecture-dominated and departmentally run to ones that are centrally governed, multi-modal, goal-oriented, and fully integrated, with mechanisms to continue curricular change into the last two years of medical education. The change at each school was in response to national education philosophy, the recommendations of the Liaison Committee for Medical Education after the most recent site visit, and faculty's and students' concerns and interests. The change process took place over a three- to four- year period at each school, involved students, faculty, and administration, and utilized task forces and retreats as communication vehicles. The barriers encountered (e.g., belief by some that the curriculum needed no change; concern over loss of departments' control) and the processes employed to overcome them and to radically change the curricula (e.g., commitment of the central administration and dean to the change, involvement of all segments of the school in the change process, appointment of department chairs on task forces, and creation of a strong curriculum committee that gave authority to faculty and students) were essentially identical. The resulting curricula were also largely similar in their main characteristics, but there were notable differences, based on the goals and concerns of the two institutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)595-601
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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