Many of the speakers from the Liberating the Curriculum (LTC) symposium touched on three key steps to making our medical school curriculum more inclusive. These could be summarised as:
- Mapping the curriculum – what already exists?
- Identifying the gaps – what do we need to improve?
- Creating teaching sessions that fulfil these needs
In this post we will take a look at what is good about our current curriculum, and how we can approach mapping it to look for areas to improve. For an idea of some of the sessions delivered at UCL Medical School already, take a look at this video featuring Dr Faye Gishen, Academic Lead for Clinical and Professional Practice (CPP), where she describes some of the diverse topics that come up in the pre-clinical and clinical years.
The CPP curriculum at UCL has to follow the national curriculum for communication skills, which Dr Lorraine Noble describes below. I think it’s important to remember that including LTC themes in the curriculum is crucial to making sure that UCL medical students understand that patients have diverse needs and expectations, helping them to truly respect the wishes of their patients.
In the next video, Jessie Low (a first year medical student at the time of recording) explains the process of mapping the CPP curriculum at UCL. Alongside Hope Chow, a second year student, she worked out a method to estimate how thoroughly various LTC themes were covered in CPP teaching sessions.
The results of the mapping task were encouraging, in that there didn’t appear to be any gaping holes in the curriculum. However, Jessie herself points out some of the limitations of this mapping technique. For example, categorising different teaching topics into themes involves a certain degree of subjectivity from the people doing the study, and others may disagree with their assessments. She also notes that it is easier to know what teaching is being delivered than to know how well students are engaging with it – finding the answer to that question may require a very different approach! Listen here for more info on the curriculum mapping project.
What CPP topics do you think need to be included in a medical school curriculum? Leave us a comment!
By Gemma Wells with contributions from Maihma Lamba and Mahesh Pillai