Curriculum Committee News
University of South Alabama College of Medicine
November 2016
The CURRents newsletter, published two times each year by the College of Medicine Division of Medical Education, is designed to inform USA COM faculty, residents and students about ongoing developments and events in our UME program. Its format parallels UME quality improvement efforts. Hence, in every issue you will be updated on the current stage of progress toward completion of a particular program initiative as we work through a PDSA quality improvement cycle of Planning, Doing, Studying and Acting.


Curriculum Committee Structure

Curriculum Committee Design and Function for 2016-2017

The Curriculum Committee is responsible for development, monitoring and continuous improvement of the UME curriculum. Biweekly meetings alternate between thought sessions designed to educate members on current changes forthcoming or in transition among medical schools across the country, and meetings devoted to reports and recommendations from eight standing subcommittees that conduct the majority of the Committee’s work. Subcommittees meet monthly or quarterly to review, analyze, collaborate, report and provide actionable recommendations to the parent Committee. The graphic above illustrates the integrated function of the Curriculum Committee and its subcommittees. Medical students contribute significantly to the Committee. In addition to having their own standing subcommittee, students now serve in 2016-2017 on the Assessment and Evaluation, Curriculum Integration, Pre-clerkship (formerly Module Directors), and Clinical Skills subcommittees.

For more information, access member rosters for the parent Curriculum Committee and its subcommittees, and a brief description of subcommittee functions.


Entrustable Professional Activities.

A major paradigm shift in competency-based medical education during the clinical years of training has been the transition to Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) by many schools. An EPA is defined as an essential task of professional medical practice that can be entrusted to a competent learner. Assessment decisions are based on observed competencies and place learners at different levels of supervision toward the learner’s goal of unsupervised practice. For academic year 2016-2017, the Curriculum Committee has approved piloting of EPAs on a limited basis during a non-graded sub-rotation of the Internal Medicine clerkship, under the directorship of Dr. TJ Hundley, M.D.

Third-year Selectives

To broaden training opportunities and enhance the credentials of our senior students applying for residency programs, the Curriculum Committee has approved the exploration of a selective experience incorporated into the clinical rotation sequence of the junior year. The preliminary plan under study would allow each M3 student to choose one from a list of several offered selective rotations for a 4-week training experience in fields such as Emergency Medicine, Orthopedic Surgery, Radiology and Pathology, for which clerkships are not currently offered. The Committee is conducting a needs analysis of student preferences and consulting with leadership of clinical departments to determine project feasibility.


USMLE Score Update

The Curriculum Committee continues to monitor national outcome measures of student performance. The NBME has released final score reports for current USA seniors graduating in the Class of 2017, with STEP 2CS scores still pending for students who will complete the exam this fall. For STEP 1 scores, USA seniors matched the national norm of 229 and topped the national pass rate.

(pass rate)
USA National
STEP1 229
On STEP 2CK, USA seniors exceeded the national norm in scoring for the third consecutive year and also topped the national pass rate. The NBME has released the final STEP2CS pass rate for the graduating Class of 2016. USA students matched the national norm with a pass rate of 97%.


Evidence-based Medicine Initiative

At the recommendation of the Clerkship Directors subcommittee, the parent Committee approved the development and implementation of an enhanced, evidence-based medicine (EBM) thread. This approach includes an early introduction to EBM concepts during the M1-M2 years, with the point-of-care application incorporated across clerkships during the M3 year. Significant M3 year enhancements integrate EBM with patient care and patient safety objectives previously established within the UME curriculum. Beginning for June 2016 takers of STEP1, the score plot includes an EBM category for comparison of USA student performance against the national norm.

Human Nutrition Thread Launched

To enhance the curriculum in human nutrition, the Curriculum Committee approved a comprehensive program integrated across the M1-M4 years. Developed by member Dr. Daniel Preud’homme, Department of Pediatrics and Director for the pre-clerkship Digestive System Module, the content of the nutrition thread is delivered through lecture, small group learning activities in the CLINIC program, independent and self-directed learning sessions and reflective writing exercises. Training culminates with a senior elective.

In this issue:


Tony Gard, PhD
Assistant Dean for Medical Education, Assessment and Evaluation
Chair, Curriculum Committee

Benjamin Estrada, MD
Assistant Dean for Medical Education, Faculty Development


Andrea Wright, MLIS
Information Services Coordinator, USA Biomedical Library
If you have any questions or suggestions regarding this newsletter or our UME program, let us know at
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Copyright © 2016 University of South Alabama College of Medicine Curriculum Committee, All rights reserved.

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