Evaluating and enhancing a women's health curriculum in an internal medicine residency program

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

Resident education in women's health is required but is often underemphasized. Our aim was to identify women's health topics with the most relevance to our graduates' practices and to determine how well they were prepared to address women's health issues.

DESIGN

Postgraduate survey.

SETTING

University-affiliated internal medicine residency program.

PARTICIPANTS

Program graduates in general internal medicine practice.

METHODS

A survey was drafted listing the 65 topics described in a published residency curriculum in women's health. Respondents indicated the extent to which each item was relevant to their practice and the adequacy of instruction received on a Likert-type scale of 1 (not relevant/inadequate) to 5 (highly relevant/adequate).

RESULTS

The response rate was 86%. Many of the items were highly relevant to our graduates' practices. Learning needs were found in all areas as none of the topics were rated as “adequately” taught during residency. Many areas in the curriculum had low relevance scores. Few differences were seen in the perceived relevance of women's health problems or the adequacy of instruction received based on gender, practice type and setting, or amount of ambulatory training during residency.

CONCLUSIONS

Use of this survey has allowed us to tailor and prioritize learning issues in women's health to meet the needs of our graduates. Increased time in ambulatory rotations alone may not be sufficient to prepare residents to provide comprehensive care in this field. Further study of the effectiveness of a dedicated curriculum in women's health is needed.

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