Curriculum Committee News
University of South Alabama College of Medicine
June 2015
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.


The Longitudinal Experience in Ambulatory Practice (LEAP), an essential component of the pre-clerkship curriculum, provides experiential learning for students through regular participation in clinical practice. This program began in 2012 with the implementation of the competency-based curriculum. During the past three years, the emphasis has been on primary care ambulatory clinics.  Beginning in the 2016-2017 academic year, the LEAP experience in the second year will be broadened to include ambulatory clinics in medical specialties in addition to primary care.

Improvement in the integration of humanism and cultural competency topics within the organ-based pre-clerkship curriculum is a current focus area for the Curriculum Committee in 2015-2016. An action plan will define the curriculum and ensure its enhancement during the 2015-2016 module sequence.


We continue to move forward with our AAMC-sponsored Teaching for Quality (Te4Q) program. During the last few months the Te4Q task force lead by Dr. Sam McQuiston has made progress by establishing the process for implementation of Te4Q in our institution. Members of the AAMC’s Te4Q program will be delivering the initial workshop at our institution on Sep 11th and 12th. Participants in the program will include 27 members of various clinical departments, the Division of Medical Education and Hospital Administration. In order to accomplish the program goal of promoting faculty development in the design of educational activities in Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, participants are already completing their pre-workshop assignments.   

Teaching for Quality


Performance on STEP2CK of the USMLE licensure exam by the graduating Class of 2015 continues to demonstrate the results of quality training our students receive in the junior clerkships. With the USA mean score topping the national average once again this year, our seniors achieved the highest score on record for the College. The USA pass rate (96%) also bested the national norm (95%), with a finalized report due later this summer. 
USMLE USA National
STEP2CK 2015     243 240
STEP2CK 2014 242 240
For STEP2CS the USA pass rate improved from 94% (Class of 2014) to match the national pass rate of 96% (Class of 2015).

Contributing significantly to the increase of STEP2CK scores at USA is the renewal of the junior year curriculum spearheaded by the Clerkship Director subcommittee. One predictor of STEP2CK success is the steady increase in student percentile scores achieved on the NBME’s standardized shelf exam, used as the final assessment in each of our seven junior clerkships. Class performance on these exams has markedly improved across all clerkships over the past two years. Summary data for 2014-2015 rotations will be detailed in the Fall issue of Currents and are of particular interest as they will represent the first class of students trained entirely in the competency-based curriculum


Since the new pre-clerkship curriculum was launched in 2012, two entering classes have completed their pre-clerkship education and a third will be sophomores this Fall. In response to student and faculty feedback compiled during this period, the Curriculum Committee has approved a module sequence redesigned to improve the flow and cohesion of basic science information delivered in the pre-clerkship curriculum. The new module sequence, which goes into effect for the 2015-2016 academic year, is shown in the table.
Freshman Year
Sophomore Year
Foundations of Human Health Ear, Nose & Throat
Infectious Disease & Host Defense Respiratory System
Biostatistics in Medicine Digestive System
Basic Concepts of Human Structure Endocrinology & Reproduction
Cardiovascular System Neuroscience & Behavior
Urinary System  

In this issue:


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

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

Guest Contributor:

Susan P. LeDoux, PhD
Associate Dean for Medical Education and Student Affairs


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 © 2015 University of South Alabama College of Medicine Curriculum Committee, All rights reserved.

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