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Educating Medical Students About Radiation Oncology: Initial Results of the Oncology Education Initiative

Authors
Journal
Journal of the American College of Radiology
1546-1440
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
4
Issue
10
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.jacr.2007.06.011
Keywords
  • Regular Article
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Education
  • Medicine

Abstract

Purpose Multidisciplinary cancer care requires the integration of teaching across established educational boundaries. Because exposure to oncology and radiation oncology is limited in the undergraduate medical curriculum, the authors introduced an oncology education initiative at their institution. They report on the addition of structured multidisciplinary oncology education to the required radiology core clerkship. Methods An institutional-based cohort study of fourth-year medical students rotating through a required clerkship in radiology at Boston University School of Medicine was conducted, beginning with the class of 2007. An educational questionnaire measuring the perceived quality of oncology education before and after exposure to a structured didactic program was administered. Results Of the 149 fourth-year students, 121 (81%) have completed the didactics of the initiative. Although 68 of 121 (56%) students reported having limited exposure to cancer care in the clinical years, 107 of 121 (88%) were motivated to learn more about the subject, and 100 of 121 (83%) reported a better understanding of the multidisciplinary nature of cancer care after this oncology education initiative. One hundred ten of 121 (91%) felt that the radiology clerkship was an opportune time to receive oncology and radiation oncology teaching. As a result of the initiative, 32% of the students pursued advanced training in radiation oncology. Of students who before the initiative were not planning on taking oncology electives, 70 of 99 (71%) agreed or strongly agreed that the lecture motivated them to learn more about the subject, and 43 of 99 (43%) agreed or strongly agreed that the lecture motivated them to take oncology electives. Conclusions Systematic exposure to multidisciplinary oncology education as part of a radiology core clerkship provides an excellent opportunity for the integrated teaching of oncologic principles and patient management. This type of experience addresses an important yet underrepresented component of undergraduate medical education.

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