Research Day


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Objective: Rapid spread of outbreaks, like the current coronavirus, in a world with dimmed frontiers underscores the relevance of this topic in the medical curriculum. Limited literature on how to deliver this content in a format that combines experiential, competency, and team-based frameworks motivated to assess a learning activity developed under such foundations.

Methods: The effectiveness and students' perception of the activity were evaluated in a prospective cohort of 84 first-year medical students during Fall 2019. Competencies gained as shown in a team presentation, as well as students' perception of competencies gained andactivity's utility were gathered. The learning activity was not graded. Estimates of students' perception account for correlated data within teams.

Results: Team presentations indicated that most competencies were acquired, with room for improvement in issues such as outbreak detection, epidemic curve type, generating informative hypotheses about most likely outbreak sources, and designing a study suitable for answering the hypothesis. Based on 56 responders representing all teams, most (82.6%) agreed or strongly agreed that the learning activity was useful in providing the necessary skills to conduct an outbreak investigation beyond what was learnt in class.

Conclusion: Providing students with experiential learning opportunities in which they can practice their recently acquired skills (i.e. recognize symptoms, elaborate a differential diagnosis) engaged them in the non-clinical components of the activity (i.e. epidemiology context). Such opportunities can also gauge outside a formal evaluation the level of mastery achieved and deficiencies not only in the specific but also in related competencies.

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