In This Issue
Director's Message
Director photo

Competencies for Medical School Sucess


The current version of the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) has been in use since 1991. As part of a significant redesign effort responsive to changes in biomedical sciences, medical education and health care delivery systems, premedical students will experience a new version of the MCAT starting in 2015.  

The current MCAT has four sections: Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning and a Writing Sample. The sections of the new MCAT will be Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems; Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems; Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior; and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills. The MCAT will continue to be a significant indicator of an applicant's academic competency for medical school.


Another fundamental change that will impact medical school admissions comes from the efforts of a national consensus group to delineate the personal competencies believed to be important for matriculating medical students. Through an iterative process involving multiple surveys of medical school personnel, a list of over 70 characteristics was reduced to nine key personal competencies that have been linked to behaviors associated with success in medical school. The list below shows the nine key personal attributes of premedical students as well as the mean ratings of importance to entering students' success in medical school:

  • Ethical responsibility to self and others (4.8)
  • Social and interpersonal skills (4.6)
  • Reliability and dependability (4.5)
  • Capacity for improvement/desire to learn (4.4)
  • Resilience and adaptability (4.3)
  • Service orientation (4.3)
  • Teamwork (4.3)
  • Verbal communication (4.2)
  • Cultural competence (3.7)

While this list provides direction for medical schools looking to better understand the competencies of their matriculants, there are many limitations in the assessment tools currently available. More information about these competencies and the state-of-the-art of competency assessment is available in the working group report. This report provides a foundation for moving forward in defining core personal competencies and makes evident the opportunities for research and development around assessing personal competencies. CHM has been implementing changes to our admissions process that are consistent with this national dialog and intended to help us make better decisions about applicants in terms of their potential for success and potential for a career that embodies the CHM mission.


A word on professionalism...

Academic Medicine is currently offering a free e-book, Professionalism in Medicine and Medical Education: Foundational Research and Key Writings, 1994-2010. This e-book is available for iPad, Nook, Kindle or Sony. Visit and scroll down to the Free Academic Medicine eBooks heading.


Brian Mavis, PhD
Associate Professor and Director
Office of Medical Education Research and Development
College of Human Medicine



- New Michigan State's first comprehensive guidelines for the use of social media at MSU are available at

-CHM Educator

OMERAD and its Advisory Board are in the process of creating a website for faculty development in teaching. This new website--called CHM Educator--will be a repository for tutorials, files and links to material for CHM faculty, both classroom and community.


These materials include topics such as:

  • writing learning objectives
  • engaging learners in lectures
  • using cases in teaching
  • guide to small group teaching
  • five easy ideas for structuring a lesson
  • teaching the newest generation of learners
  • providing constructive feedback
  • writing test items
  • teaching in the ambulatory setting

The website is being developed in several phases over the next few years. In Phase 1 we will construct the website and provide links to existing materials. In Phase 2 we will add materials of our own creation, and in Phase 3 we will revise the list of materials and add materials to support the new curriculum.


If you would like to nominate materials to be included on the website, please contact Debby Sleight at [email protected] or 517-353-9656 ext. 229. Materials must be easily accessible and either copyright-free or with permission to use.


We expect the website to be up at the beginning of Fall 2013. We will send out an announcement of the link at that time. Please stay tuned!  



The Central Group on Educational Affairs (CGEA)

The Central Group on Educational Affairs (CGEA) is one of four regions that comprise the national Group on Educational Affairs of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). The membership of the CGEA includes medical schools located in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, as well as two Canadian schools. Each year, the CGEA hosts a spring conference to provide a forum for discussion of issues facing medical educators and to share resources, innovations and scholarly collaborations.


The 2013 CGEA meeting was held a few weeks ago in Cincinnati, with over 200 attendees representing 28 midwest medical schools as well as 11 schools and organizations elsewhere in the country. CHM was well-represented at the meeting, with 14 attendees participating in 13 different conference activities covering a wide range of issues.   


Infographic shows the breakdown of CHM participation
at the CGEA 2013 conference.

Abstracts for each one of the sessions presented at the conference are summarized in this PDF.
For more information about the CGEA, please visit 


Featured Project: On-Demand Research Basics Training Modules

The College of Human Medicine developed a Research Basics Training Program (RBT) to provide training on core research skills and to increase productivity of early investigators such as medical students, residents, faculty, clinicians and community practitioners.


RBT was originally offered as a train-the-trainer model delivered on-site at various CHM campuses. This approach proved not to be feasible in the campus community settings since most residency program faculty do not have the time or background to add conducting research training seminars to their schedules. The alternative online RBT program provides optimal educational value and flexibility for the learning needs of medical students and professionals who have time and schedule constraints or lack of research experience.


The online program consists of eight core modules. Each module is designed to integrate a variety of multimedia components such as narrated PowerPoint slides, images, and animations. Learning assessments, web resources and additional reading materials are also associated with each RBT module. The highly customizable media player interface allows users to access the module content in different modalities (e.g., outline, thumbnails, slide notes, search function).


List of RBT modules


A real benefit of the online modules is that they provide consistency of instruction, flexible scheduling, and usability across different platforms and reduced the cost of program delivery. The online format also provides learners with greater access to content, deliberate practice and more control of the educational experience. A quality that learners greatly appreciate when completing online modules.


The RBT program is part of the Responsible Conduct of Research curriculum and is a requirement for all CHM students who are matched to research projects in 2013.Currently, the program is being used by CHM faculty, students and residents in the Pediatric, Family Medicine and OB/GYN Residency programs to provide foundational research training for conducting scholarly activities.


Modules are available online through MSU's secured learning management system and can be downloaded to a hard drive for local playback, or exported to other portable media formats.


RBT Modules Design Team:  

Dr. Joan Ilardo, PhD and Geraud Plantegenest, MA


For more information about access to the online RBT modules, please visit the CHM Office of Research website or contact Dr.Joan Ilardo, Director of Research Training at [email protected]  


Geraud Plantegenest

B-CLR Manager

Office of Medical Education Research and Development
College of Human Medicine
517-353-2037 ext. 237

[email protected] 


programeval CHM Program Evaluation

Evaluation of the CHM Extended Curricular Program


The Extended Curricular Program (ECP) provides medical students with the option to rebalance their medical school load by spreading out a year of medical school over two years. A student may decide to request an extension of his/her medical program for a variety of reasons, including a desire to better balance school and family life, engage in research, pursue unique non-medical school opportunities, or remediate academic challenges such as passing a required class or USMLE Step I. CHM has long provided an option for the ECP as a means to support the diverse academic and non-academic needs of our students, which includes a significant number of disadvantaged and nontraditional students. OMERAD and the Office of Preclinical Curriculum recently completed a comprehensive evaluation of ECP; some of the major findings are summarized below.


A review of all matriculants from 1991 through 2003 revealed that 222 (16%) students extended their curriculum and of these students 189 (85%) successfully graduated from CHM. The overall CHM graduate rate for all matriculants is 96%. Ten percent of extended students were dismissed and 5% either withdrew or transferred to another medical school. 


Who extended their curriculum?

Compared to non-extended matriculants, students who extended their curriculum tended to be older (27.1 vs. 24.9 years), were more likely to be women (61% vs. 52%) and were more likely to be minorities underrepresented in medicine (40% vs. 15%). They also tended to have academic challenges: their MCAT scores and undergraduate grade point averages tended to be 0.5 to 1.0 standard deviation below the mean for matriculants overall.


Why did students extend their curriculum?

We conducted a follow-up survey of CHM graduates who extended their curriculum. The results below summarize their responses to the question of their reasons for extension. Respondents could indicate more than one reason so the total exceeds 100%.

  • 39%   Academic concerns (voluntary or required)
  • 26%   Needs of family or children
  • 20%   Health concerns (personal or family member)
  •  7%    Work/employment
  •  8%    Other

When did students extend their curriculum? 


Figure 1 below shows that most students extended their curriculum during the first year (56%) or second year (32%) although some extended in Block III or multiple years. Figure 2 shows the how graduation rates are related to when the students extended.

                             Fig. 1                                                     Fig. 2                      


Extended students continued to have academic challenges during medical school and residency, based on indicators such as USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 scores and PGY-1 ratings by residency program directors.  


Survey respondents indicated that the decision to extend was complicated by many factors, as shown by the figure above. However, most respondents (92%) agreed that curriculum extension allowed them to address the challenges that led them to extend, it allowed them to learn course material more thoroughly (81%) and it gave them time to improve their study skills (79%). Most respondents (62%) felt more prepared for their clerkships as a result of extension and most thought that extension had a neutral (58%) or positive (31%) impact on securing a residency position.


When considering longer-term outcomes, the results of the CHM Graduate Follow-up Survey for PGY-2 graduates indicates that students who extended their curriculum are indistinguishable from other CHM graduates in terms of satisfaction with their CHM medical education, self-rated quality of preparation for their internship, career satisfaction and life satisfaction. They are as likely to practice in Michigan and to be in a primary care specialty as graduates who did not extend their curriculum.  


facdevFaculty Development
An Update from the MSU Course Materials Program  

For over a decade, the MSU Course Materials Program, a part of the MSU Libraries, has worked closely with the College of Human Medicine to assist in making course packs available for the Block I and II curricula. Our office handles the copyright clearance of third-party copyrighted content appearing in these materials, as well as managing the production and distribution of print and electronic course packs to students.


We are very happy that CHM students have found electronic course materials to be beneficial to their learning. In a recent survey, on a scale of 1 (most negative) to 10 (most positive), a full third of student respondents rated the impact of electronic materials on their learning at 10, with 82% giving a rating between 7-10. Content appearing in full color, being able to enlarge high-definition images, and keyword searching were the most popular functions newly introduced with the advent of e-coursepacks.


The electronic course materials initiative is no longer merely a pilot program, and is now in place permanently for CHM faculty, staff and students. In making this transition to providing materials in both print and electronic format, our office renegotiated royalty rates with some publishers and rights holders in order to keep costs as low as possible for the usage of copyrighted content. Of note is a lower royalty rate for materials published by Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, a widely-used source of high-quality medical graphics, illustrations and images in medical course materials.


However, we would like to warn lecturing faculty who contribute content to Block I and II course packs to avoid including content published by the BMJ Group, which control rights over 40 journals. They have raised their print royalties to $1.00 per page per copy. We strongly recommend whenever textbooks are required for a course to pull figures and illustrations from those sources, as we are able to negotiate permission to use this content for no charge.  


Additionally, Creative-Commons licensed content can be a fantastic resource as well. This includes content that appears on websites like Wikimedia Commons, which contains lots of useful anatomical images. The MSU Libraries also maintain a bevy of licenses that allow for no-charge reuse of content. More information about these resources can be found by consulting the Libguide to Medical Image Resources, published by Andrea Kepsel, Health Sciences Librarian and library liaison to the College of Human Medicine.


For more information about electronic course materials, consult the OMERAD Seminar Series for the archived recording and PowerPoints of the "Electronic Coursepacks" panel discussion, or contact Tyler Smeltekop, MSU Course Materials Program manager at [email protected].   


hotpressHot Off the Press

- Solomon DJ, Digital distribution of academic journals and its impact on scholarly communication: Looking back after 20 years. J Acad Librarianship 39 (2013), pp. 23-28  DOI: 10.1016/j.acalib.2012.10.001  


resourcesOMERAD Resources

B-CLR Showcase 

An interactive gallery featuring examples of CHM blended and online learning projects by B-CLR.



A medical education listserv maintained by OMERAD.


Medical Education Online (MEO)  

Peer-reviewed international open access journal for disseminating information on the education and training of physicians and other health care professionals.


Vital Signs Newsletter Archive

Click on the link to view past issues of our newsletter.


Medical Education Scholarship Group

Meets first Wednesday of each month in room A116 East Fee Hall from 1:30 pm-3:00 pm.For questions about this group contact Dr. Brian Mavis:[email protected]


OMERAD Technology Center (OTC)  

Units within the College of Human Medicine interested in sponsoring faculty and/or staff development programs in support of education and scholarship may request use of the room.


The OTC is located in A211 East Fee Hall. For questions about the OTC contact:

John Williamson ([email protected]


The Office of Medical Education Research and Development is a unit within the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University. Its mission is to improve medical education and related service programs through evaluation and research consultation, relevant instruction, and programs of faculty development.


Established in 1966, OMERAD is the oldest continuously operating office of medical education in the United States.


A-202 East Fee Hall

965 Fee Road 

East Lansing, Michigan 48824


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