Original Article

Women’s Health Curriculum for Medical Students

Authors: Maryam Sattari, MD, MS, Erinn Cooke, MD, Elizabeth Vorhis, MD, Julia Marshall, MD, Karen Daily, DO

Abstract

Objectives: Knowledge of women’s health is important for physicians in various specialties, but training often is inadequate. The objective of this project was to develop, implement, and evaluate a women’s health curriculum for medical students at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville.

Methods: After reviewing previous pertinent literature and assessing institutional factors, we developed an interdisciplinary women’s health elective for medical students. We present the curricular design for the course. The 2-week elective explores women's health topics such as disease prevention, screening, breast health, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular health. Teaching methodology includes case-based lectures, reading assignments, and clinic sessions at multiple sites.

Results: Senior medical students worked in a variety of clinical settings and were assigned a women’s health project, a pretest before starting the elective, and a posttest after completion of the course. A statistically significant increase was seen in the students’ mean posttest (98.8%) versus pretest (85.6%) scores (difference 13.1%; 95% confidence interval 7.3–19.0, P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Designing curricula that promote lifelong professional competency in the field of women’s health can be challenging. At the University of Florida, we have successfully created and implemented a medical student elective in women’s health using local resources and expertise. This elective satisfies important women’s health training requirements, has been well received by our students, and has resulted in increased women’s health-specific knowledge. The experience at our institution may be useful for other programs interested in developing a women’s health curriculum geared toward medical students utilizing minimal resources.

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