Integrative Pharmacotherapeutics Learning Communities


Accepted Poster Presentation for the Learning Communities Institute Conference at the National Conference for American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC)

Title  Integrative Pharmacotherapeutics Learning Communities

Primary Presenter  Julie Bridges

Authors and affiliations  Elza Mylona, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Professional Development  Thomas Lynch, Course Director Integrative Pharmacotherapeutics,  Ed Davidson, Adjunct Faculty Integrative Pharmacotherapeutics.


Revision of pharmacology curriculum to include integrative pharmacotherapeutics cases in learning communities.

 Program Description

The second year medical school curriculum for the pharmacology curriculum was substantially revised to include integrative pharmacotherapeutics cases.  The course revision included 9 cases to be presented to the learning communities formed in the second year courses.  These learning communities are also used in another integrative course Introduction to the Patient so the students spend some time working together in the second year in multiple scenarios.  As part of the regular integrative pharmacotherapeutics course, the 139 second year medical students were placed in groups of 6 or 7.  The cases were written by subject matter experts Tom Lynch, PharmD and Ed Davidson, PharmD, MPH on a variety of common multi-dimensional problems such as hypertension, AFib, antithrombotic therapy, Peptic ulcer disease, COPD, and Diabetes among others.  Students were presented with cases as a mechanism of review before exams.  The students used electronic resources as well as a panel of faculty experts to answer questions posed in the cases.  Groups were chosen at random to present their answers to the case questions.

 Program Evaluation

A mid-course evaluation was used to formatively evaluate the yearlong course at mid-term.  A final course evaluation was used at the end as well as a specific evaluation of the case usage.


The course evaluations were well received and immediately brought improvement in the course evaluations at mid-course that remained throughout the year.  Initially, attendance was required, but not taken at all sessions.  The students remained committed to attending the sessions even when the attendance was not taken.  Student comments reflected their appreciation of the interactivity of the sessions.

 Lessons Learned

Of the 22 groups in the learning community, 2 were dysfunctional and probably needed intervention early in the course.  The body language displayed, lack of communication in class between group members and comments on evaluations showed a distinct lack of functionality within the group.  Next year, an earlier group functionality assessment and intervention will hopefully help dysfunctional groups.  We are planning to work with our Director of Academic Development to help us do earlier interventions to improve communication and functionality in groups.


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