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Application of active learning modalities to achieve medical genetics competencies and their learning outcome assessments

Authors Hagiwara N

Received 7 July 2017

Accepted for publication 10 October 2017

Published 14 December 2017 Volume 2017:8 Pages 817—829

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/AMEP.S145696

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Maria Olenick

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Anwarul Azim Majumder


Nobuko Hagiwara

Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA, USA

Abstract: The steadily falling costs of genome sequencing, coupled with the growing number of genetic tests with proven clinical validity, have made the use of genetic testing more common in clinical practice. This development has necessitated nongeneticist physicians, especially primary care physicians, to become more responsible for assessing genetic risks for their patients. Providing undergraduate medical students a solid foundation in genomic medicine, therefore, has become all the more important to ensure the readiness of future physicians in applying genomic medicine to their patient care. In order to further enhance the effectiveness of instructing practical skills in medical genetics, the emphasis of active learning modules in genetics curriculum at medical schools has increased in recent years. This is because of the general acceptance of a better efficacy of active learner-centered pedagogy over passive lecturer-centered pedagogy. However, an objective standard to evaluate students’ skill levels in genomic medicine achieved by active learning is currently missing. Recently, entrustable professional activities (EPAs) in genomic medicine have been proposed as a framework for developing physician competencies in genomic medicine. EPAs in genomic medicine provide a convenient guideline for not only developing genomic medicine curriculum but also assessing students’ competency levels in practicing genomic medicine. In this review, the efficacy of different types of active learning modules reported for medical genetics curricula is discussed using EPAs in genomic medicine as a common evaluation standard for modules’ learning outcomes. The utility of the EPAs in genomic medicine for designing active learning modules in undergraduate medical genetics curricula is also discussed.

Keywords: undergraduate medical genetics education, genomic medicine competencies, active learning modules, entrustable professional activities, learning outcome assessment

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