To describe current educational imperatives and trends for curricular changes in the clinical education of medical students and to delineate the nature and extent of participation in these curricular trends by departments of pediatrics.
Site visits to 26 representative US medical schools and a review of detailed information from 12 additional schools. Evaluation of the core curriculum was developed by the Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics within the context of the major curricular trends observed.
The major observed curricular trends emphasized community-based ambulatory experiences, continuity of care, integration, and population-based experiences. Supporting educational principles included student-directed learning and performance-based assessments. The 3 major curricular changes were early clinical experiences (longitudinal preceptorships), community-oriented/ population-based experiences, and multispecialty clerkships. The focus of the Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics objectives was the year 3 clerkship, and substantive participation by pediatric faculty in the overall curriculum was primarily related to the pediatric clerkship.
Revising the clerkship-based Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics guidelines according to the new educational trends will extend clinical curricular opportunities for pediatrics beyond the traditional boundaries of the clerkship. The discipline of pediatrics will, as a consequence, be able to achieve enhanced partnership in the planning, conduct, and evaluation of a clinical curriculum for medical students that is relevant to child health issues and that extends across all 4 years.