Immunology for Rheumatology Residents: Working Toward a Canadian National Curriculum Consensus

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Immunologic mechanisms play an integral role in understanding the pathogenesis and management of rheumatic conditions. Currently, there is limited access to formal instruction in immunology for rheumatology trainees across Canada.


The aims of this study were (1) to describe current immunology curricula among adult rheumatology training programs across Canada and (2) to compare the perceived learning needs of rheumatology trainees from the perspective of program directors and trainees to help develop a focused nationwide immunology curriculum.


Rheumatology trainees and program directors from adult rheumatology programs across Canada completed an online questionnaire and were asked to rank a comprehensive list of immunology topics. A modified Delphi approach was implemented to obtain consensus on immunology topics.


Only 42% of program directors and 31% of trainees felt the current method of teaching immunology was effective. Results illustrate concordance between program directors and trainees for the highest-ranked immunology topics including innate immunity, adaptive immunity, and cells and tissues of the immune system. However, there was discordance among other topics, such as diagnostic laboratory immunology and therapeutics.


There is a need to improve immunology teaching in rheumatology training programs. Results show high concordance between the basic immunology topics. This study provides the groundwork for development of future immunology curricula.

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