Endocrine Physiology in a Patient-Centered Learning Curriculum
The medical curriculum at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences has recently been redesigned into a problem-based/traditional hybrid model that utilizes an integrated organ systems-based approach to teach basic and clinical sciences. The number of lecture hours in general has been greatly reduced, and, in particular, lecture hours in physiology have been reduced by 65%. Students learn basic science in small groups led by a faculty facilitator, and students are responsible for a great deal of their own teaching and learning. The curriculum is centered around patient cases and is called patient-centered learning (PCL). The curriculum includes traditional lectures and laboratories supporting faculty-generated learning objectives. Endocrine physiology is taught in year one, utilizing four weeks of patient cases that emphasize normal structure and function of endocrine systems. Endocrine physiology is revisited in year two, which is primarily focused on pathobiology. The PCL curriculum, with emphasis on the endocrine component, is described in detail along with key portions of an endocrine case.