Physiology and problem-based learning at the indiana university northwest center for medical education

S. F. Echtenkamp, P. G. Latridis, B. G. Kennedy, S. Vaughn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The Northwest Center for Medical Education, a regional center of the I.U. School of Medicine initiated an alternative problembased learning (PBL) curriculum in 1990 for first and second year medical students. This curriculum combines several important principles: First, the traditional disciplines presented in the first two years of medical school are modified so that integration between disciplines Is encouraged while competition among courses is eliminated. Second, group discussion of clinical cases with a faculty tutor is the centerpiece of the curriculum, but a limited number of traditional lectures provide a conceptual framework. Third, the required examinations are not written by the faculty, which changes the student-teacher dynamic. Physiology is presented within Step 3 which is nine weeks in length and is integrated with systems Pharmacology. A new clinical problem is considered each week in three PBL tutorial sessions. The major theme of each week is a specific system, e.g. Gl, CV etc. However the cases are written so that integration of multiple systems and disciplines is necessary. Concurrent key lectures guide the students conceptually and provide a depth and breadth framework. Six years experience with this curriculum has yielded consistent high performance on National Boards and increased student and faculty satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)A265
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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