Curriculum Reform at The Mount Sinai Hospital Department of Pathology AP/CP Residency Program

When I started as a resident in The Mount Sinai Hospital oral and maxillofacial pathology residency program, I was pleasantly surprised by the substantial degree to which it was integrated with the anatomic pathology (AP) and clinical pathology (CP) residency programs. We participated in all of their didactics as well as our own, and it was clear how much the AP/CP program had to offer for resident education. The Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest in the country, and because of the synergy with the diversity of the New York City patient population and the sub-specialization of the Department, we had exposure to incredibly uncommon disease entities. However, the didactic structure was fairly traditional, with relatively disorganized teaching assets and little active learning.

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Example of a team-based learning quiz (this was an oral one I made with whole slide imaging in Blackboard).

Starting in May 2017, I started working with the assistant residency program director, Garrett Desman, MD, to reform the curriculum and fully realize the potential of existing assets while using evidence-based concepts of adult education. To begin, we worked with the Icahn School of Medicine educational technology team to create a Blackboard learning management system organization, allowing for us to organize educational content. To make the content, we recruited resident volunteers to reach out to each sub-specialty in which the residents rotated, where they would work with attendings to create a list of rotation expectations, learning objectives, and upload existing assets. Once consistency with the existing educational system was achieved, we started the reform proper.

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Schedule for the new curriculum.

A primary objective of our reform was to encourage active learning. To this end, we wanted to replace the existing didactic structure of relatively unrelated traditional didactic lectures with a more thematically structured format:

Because of these changes, resident satisfaction with the program increased dramatically (internal data). It is our desire that these changes be further developed, and these changes could possibly be implemented in other residency programs in the Health System.