Curriculum Reform at Univ. of Missouri – Kansas City

AnnaMaria Maples, MS6 at UMKC Missouri has never been known for being progressive, but I did not know quite the extent of it until I began preparing for residency. I am a sixth year medical student at the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine (UMKC) in the BA/MD program, and our curriculum …

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residency-trainingMSFC believes that abortion and family planning training should be a standard part of all medical school curricula. Improving your school’s reproductive health curriculum to include these components is important work and we are here to help! Please reach out to MSFC HQ for guidance, brainstorming, and resources.

Tips for Success:

  • Gather student interest. Student voices are stronger than faculty/administrative support, so show that reform is important to a wide body of students. Collect surveys and testimony.
  • Prepare! Determine what is lacking in your curriculum, and then prepare the materials to address that gap. MSFC staff and your fellow members can help you with curriculum content.
  • Make your proposal realistic. Propose a realistic schedule, possible time slots, and find a faculty member or physician willing to lead the lecture, if needed. The more feasible the change, the more likely administration will embrace it.
  • Maintain continuity and don’t give up! Reform is often more than a one year process, which means that maintaining detailed notes is essential. Pass on this information to the next year’s student leaders and encourage them to continue your efforts.

Getting Started:

1) Evaluate your Curriculum

  • Identify the gaps in your curriculum by surveying fellow students and speaking to faculty.
  • MSFC has developed a baseline curriculum to help you identify deficits and set goals.
  • MSFC maintains records of past curriculum change efforts, curriculum resources, and articles to support your efforts.

2) Identify Goals

  • Do you want to get new content added to your curriculum or existing content improved?
  • Examples include getting a few slides added to an existing lecture, an entirely new lecture added, or an optional course added.
  • Where will the topic fit in the current format of your school’s curriculum?
    • At what point in the curriculum?
    • In which course?

3) Gather Support

  • Identify allies who will support your goals.
    • Supportive faculty and staff, administration, medical students, and professional students who may also populate the course or class.
    • Local clinics and providers, and other reproductive health organizations.
    • The curriculum reform committee at your school.
  • Invite others to share in your request for change.
    • Having others involved in the process means that the request comes from a group, which can make the project more sustainable.
    • Attend meetings of other organizations on your campus and share your ideas.
    • Divide tasks and research among supporters to keep them engaged with the process.

4) Research

  • Once you have a goal and the support of others, begin building your case. A case with solid and substantial evidence behind it will be more difficult for decision-makers to ignore.
  • Analyze strategies that were effective in the past, including talking with students, faculty and administration who have worked on curriculum change – both at your school and at other medical schools.
  • Show that the proposed change has support through surveys, evaluations, or petitions. Gather the information in a report.

5) Present Your Case

  • Compile your case into a report and share your report and proposal with key faculty and administrators, the curriculum committee, and other student groups.
  • Create a fact-sheet of your findings to give to other medical students.
  • Meet with course directors and decision-makers to discuss your findings.
  • Maintain relationships with allied student leaders, faculty, and administrators.