Curriculum Committee News
University of South Alabama College of Medicine
February 2016
The CURRents newsletter, published three 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.

Planning: Professional Behaviors Initiative

To affirm the College’s responsibility to create, support and facilitate an optimal learning environment for medical education, the Curriculum Committee, in collaboration with the Graduate Medical Education Council, launched the Professional Behaviors (PROBE) initiative in November. Consisting of clinical and basic science faculty, medical school administration, residents, students, and hospital administrators, five working groups were established to develop a plan of action during the spring of 2016 for Curriculum Committee approval and implementation by July 1, 2016. The DETECTION & INFORMATION group will optimize student evaluation tools used to monitor positive and negative professional behaviors, particularly those encountered in the clerkship year. The EDUCATION group will develop a comprehensive strategy to promote and enhance the learning environment across the UME-GME continuum and USA hospital system through student and resident orientation and faculty development. The REPORTING group will design a centralized process for students to transmit concerns about unprofessional behaviors without fear of reprisal or losing anonymity. The INVESTIGATION group will define concrete steps to recognize and remediate unprofessional behaviors. Finally the POLICY group will revise the College’s comprehensive written statement on student wellness and the learning environment including the operating procedures by which the overall program is carried out.


Doing: Te4Q Initiative

Efforts aimed to accomplish Te4Q certification for several USACOM faculty members are ongoing. This initiative has focused on development of communication skills related to transition of care utilizing the SBAR tool.  The introduction of SBAR into the UME curriculum was approved by the curriculum committee during the fall and will be featured for the first time as part of clinical skills education during the BCS module in the month of February. To determine the UME curriculum requirements for SBAR, a needs assessment survey was completed by medical students prior to curriculum development.  The impact of SBAR education in UME will be assessed after the conclusion of the BCS module. This information will be shared with ongoing SBAR initiatives within different GME programs and the USA Health Care Systems.  It is expected that once data for all SBAR initiatives are available, the results of this effort will lead to various scholarly products and Te4Q certification.

Studying: LEAP Curriculum Overhaul

The current complimentary course to Clinical Skills, Longitudinal Experience in Ambulatory Practice (LEAP), is undergoing a curricular restructure to increase quality across curricular and authentic learning experiences that focus on professionalism and the development of interpersonal and communication skills among first and second year students. A comparison of longitudinal programs and curricula was conducted to determine what changes were feasible during the current transition of the program from a grant-supported initiative run by the department of Family Medicine to the Department of Medical Education and a fully integrated curriculum. USA’s timeline and goals for LEAP compare well with similar schools. Content, however, is an area that is under intensive study and revision by the LEAP Curriculum Task Force. Modifications to the course for 2016-17 will include a differentiation in curricula for first and second year students. First year students will continue to focus on authenticating foundational ambulatory skills while second year students will have options to follow different pathways of more specific ambulatory clinical learning in advance of their clerkship year.

Acting: Active Learning Center at Children's and Women's Hospital

As the College of Medicine has transformed its curriculum to focus on active learning, updated classrooms have been created to support the new approach. The first Active Learning Center was completed in 2012 on the main campus and is heavily utilized in the pre-clerkship curriculum.  The success of this form of instruction resulted in the creation of a second center at the USA Medical Center Mastin Building. This space is used primarily by the Internal Medicine, Neurology and Surgery Clerkships. Recently, the previous library space at Children’s and Women’s Hospital has been renovated to create a third Active Learning Center, which in now available for use by the Pediatrics, OB/GYN and Family Medicine Clerkships. Each of these centers is well-equipped to support collaborative learning exercises.

Using the new Active Learning Center at C&W
Clerkship students engaged in case review in the newest active learning center located in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

In this issue:


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

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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