Development of Innovative Teaching Materials: Clinical Pharmacology Problem-Solving (CPPS) UnitsComparison with Patient-Oriented Problem-Solving Units and Problem-Based Learning—A 10-Year Review

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The First Teaching Clinic in Clinical Pharmacology, sponsored by the American College of Clinical Pharmacology in September 1992, was designed for the preparation and development of new clinical pharmacology problem-solving (CPPS) units. CPPS units are case histories that illustrate pertinent principles in clinical pharmacology. Each unit consists of the following sections: introduction, learning objectives, pretest, four clinical pharmacology scenarios, posttest, answers to pre- and posttest questions, and selected references. The clinical pharmacology content of the CPPS units place greater emphasis on clinical information, drug selection, and risk/benefit analyses, and thus they complement the basic pharmacology presented in the patient-oriented problem-solving (POPS) units. In general, the CPPS units are intended for use by students more advanced in clinical pharmacology than first- and second-year medical students. The CPPS unit “Clinical Pharmacology of Antiepileptic Drug Use: Clinical Pearls about the Perils of Patty” was developed for use by third- and fourth-year medical students doing rotations in neurology or clinical pharmacology; advanced pharmacy students; residents in neurology, pediatrics, internal medicine, and family practice; fellows in clinical pharmacology; and those taking the board examination in clinical pharmacology. The CPPS unit titled “Geriatric Clinical Psychopharmacology” was written for third- and fourth-year medical students; residents in psychiatry, family practice, and internal medicine; fellows in clinical pharmacology; and those studying for boards in clinical pharmacology. The CPPS unit “Anisocoria and Glaucoma” was written for more advanced students of clinical pharmacology. The CPPS unit titled “Antiepileptic Drugs” was intended for second-year medical students. The second teaching clinic was held in November 1993 and focused on the development and editing of the CPPS units and their evaluations by faculty and students from academic centers. Evaluations by faculty and students have been overwhelmingly positive. Requests to use the CPPS units in various clinical pharmacology teaching programs were received from numerous schools within the United States and from abroad. The third teaching clinic in September 1995 included a follow-up focused on the uses of drug information databases in case problem exercises. These examples are presented to demonstrate the variety of educational activities the American College of Clinical Pharmacology is sponsoring to fulfill its strategic initiative dedicated to offer innovative teaching programs and to develop new teaching materials in clinical pharmacology. Collectively, all of the teaching clinics, symposia, and workshop efforts, sponsored by the various academic professional societies alone or together over the past decade, are necessary if new and innovative teaching materials in the field of basic science and in the fields of pharmacology and clinical pharmacology are to be continuously developed to keep pace with the new, rapidly changing developments in medicine to provide the best treatment for patients in the 21st century.

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