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In This Issue:

Director's Message: Less is More
Less is more. That is the guiding principle that probably best describes our change in approach to Vital Signs this year. We are moving from four editions each academic year to eight editions on a monthly basis from October to May. Each edition will be shorter, specifically highlighting developments in educational development, B-CLR or program evaluation, followed by the usual announcements and resource updates. 
Our goal with Vital Signs is to keep CHM educators informed about innovations and resources for educational development and blended learning. We also use Vital Signs to disseminate recent medical education scholarship and findings from our on-going evaluation of the curriculum for quality improvement. Our hope is that with the shorter format, it will be easier for readers to find the content of most interest to them. It will also allow us to more readily pass on important announcements of upcoming events and important new resources in a timely manner.
As we enter the final countdown to the implementation of the Shared Discovery Curriculum for the incoming class of 2016, it is hard to imagine anyone who will not be affected by the change. 

SDC image

The new curriculum has four structural components that make it fundamentally different from how we have historically approached undergraduate medical education: (a) significant early clinical experience, (b) a curriculum completely integrated around patients' chief complaints and concerns, (c) the use of both knowledge and skill-based progress testing to assess the developing competencies of our learners, and (d) the use of learning societies as our infrastructure for curriculum delivery. These features will not only transform the way we approach education, together they make our curriculum distinctive among the many approaches being tried at other medical schools. Although it is currently under redevelopment, the Shared Discovery Curriculum website has many useful resources, including recordings of all of the Town Hall meetings since 2012. To review the last Town Hall on October 5, please visit to see the recording and Prezi slide presentation.
While Vital Signs will not exclusively focus on the Shared Discovery Curriculum, it is hard to imagine that it too could remain untouched in the coming year when there is such significant change ahead. So perhaps "less is more" as used here is less poetic than Robert Browning's imagery in his poem Andrea del Sarto. Perhaps in our case, less is more is primarily a practical response to our state of change as a college, although I see it as much as an empirical question that we will test this year.
- HOW TO DEVELOP A CURRICULUM: A Blended Online Faculty Development Course

With the new CHM curriculum starting up in the fall of 2016, faculty may be interested in learning how to design instruction in a systematic manner. OMERAD is once again offering its blended course, How to Develop a Curriculum. Participants will learn how to design and develop a curriculum. When they have completed this 7-week course and have done all the assignments, they will have a curriculum plan that describes a systematic design for a curriculum, and will have developed the course materials for at least one unit.

This blended distance learning course for campus and community faculty in the College of Human Medicine teaches the basics of curriculum design: needs assessment, feasibility analysis, writing goals and objectives, deciding on the curriculum structure and unit content, choosing instructional and learner assessment strategies and curriculum evaluation. The course contains 12 short, online, self-paced video lectures for you to watch at your own convenience, with accompanying worksheets that you will discuss with the instructors.

Enrollment is closed for Fall 2015 but we will be offering the course again in Spring 2016. For more information or to register for the waiting list, please contact us at [email protected].

- Resources For Medical Education Research and Scholarship

A list of resources was developed by OMERAD to support faculty new to medical education scholarship. The resource list makes reference to published papers and also includes links to websites and documents. These resources are arranged by topic, addressing issues common to educational scholarship, including definitions of scholarship, formulating resource questions, methodology and research design as well as dissemination via poster or publication. See the resource list.

- DELL Releases Statistica Free to High Ed

has launched a free version of its Statistica advanced analytics software for college students and professors in the United States. The company made the announcement at the Educause 2015 conference taking place from October 27-30 in Indianapolis, IN. Learn more.
CHM Program Evaluation:
Community-Based Medical Education: Local, Regional, and Statewide Impact

Michigan State University College of Human Medicine (MSU-CHM) has immersed students in diverse communities across the state for their clinical education since its founding in 1966. We aimed to retrospectively evaluate the regional impact of the College on the physician workforce in the six communities in which centers of medical education were initially established, and to measure other pertinent workforce outcomes.

American Medical Association Masterfile data were used to obtain practice locations for all MSU-CHM graduates from 1978-2006. Internet searches were used to validate the practice locations of any graduates listed as residents, 2004, 2005, and 2006 graduates, and any physicians who did not list a work address. Physicians whose practice locations could not be confirmed were excluded.

Practice locations were geocoded to the zip code level and joined to Rural-Urban Commuting Area Code 2006 data by zip code using Geographic Information Systems software. Graduates were evaluated for practice within a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA).

Physicians were classified as practicing primary care or practicing in a high-need specialty (primary care, general surgery, psychiatry, pediatric subspecialties).

  Click to see a larger image (.pdf) 
The results suggest that graduates clustered around their campuses, reflecting the focus of their campuses.
  • Upper Peninsula (Marquette) is the home of a Rural Physician Program. UP graduates were more likely to practice in rural communities, practice primary care, practice in high-need specialties, and stay in Michigan.
  • Grand Rapids graduates were more likely to enter specialties other than primary care and other high need specialties. Grand Rapids has the highest local retention, consistent with significant regional growth.
  • Flint and Saginaw are urban communities with socioeconomically disadvantaged populations. Flint and Saginaw graduates had a significant impact on Wayne County, including the Detroit.
  • Kalamazoo graduates gravitated toward mid-sized cities, whereas Lansing and Grand Rapids graduates were more evenly dispersed throughout their regions.
  • Kalamazoo and Saginaw had the lowest rates of retention locally and in-state.
Click to see a larger image (.pdf) 

This case study demonstrates the power of a community-based medical school in fulfilling workforce outcomes that matter.
  • High HPSA practice rates (49%) compared to a Midwest average of 26%
  • High primary care practice rates (44%)
  • High rural practice rates overall (16%), and when excluding the rural campus (14%)
The findings suggest that medical students are attracted to practice settings similar to where they are taught, although we know that our students initially select their clinical campus.

This CHM study was led by Julie Phillips MD, Andrea Wendling MD, Brian Mavis PhD and Carrie Fahey BS. 
Hot Off the Press
- McDougle L, Way D, Lee WK, Morfin JA, Mavis BE, Matthews D, Latham-Sadler BA & Clinchot DM. A national long-term outcomes evaluation of US premedical postbaccalaureate programs designed to promote healthcare access and workforce diversity.  Journal of Healthcare for the Poor and Underserved. 2015; 26: 631-647.
- Arvidson C, Green W, Allen R, Reznich C, Mavis B, Osuch J, Lipscomb W, O'Donnell J, & Brewer, P. Investing in Success: Decelerated Preclinical Curricular Options at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.  Medical Education Online. 2015; 20 (Sept.): 29297.  doi:
- Gold J, DeMuth R, Wagner D & Mavis B.  Progress testing 2.0: Clinical skills meets necessary science.  Medical Education Online.  2015; 20: 27769. doi:

- John Hoyle, Sleight D, Henry R, Chassee T, Fales B and Mavis B. Pediatric Prehospital Medication Dosing Errors: A Mixed-Methods Study. Prehospital Emergency Care, published online on September 23, 2015 at:
OMERAD Resources
An interactive gallery featuring examples of CHM blended and online learning projects by B-CLR.
A medical education listserv maintained by OMERAD.
Peer-reviewed international open access journal for disseminating information on the education and training of physicians and other health care professionals.
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 (East Lansing) and 451 Secchia Center (Grand Rapids) from 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm. The purpose is to develop and support scholarship related to our educational program. Got an idea?  Need an inspiration?  Looking for collaborators? Join us! For questions about this group contact Dr. Brian Mavis:  [email protected]. 

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