A Structured Curriculum for Improved Resident Education in Statistics

Cheatham, Michael L.
June 2000
American Surgeon;Jun2000, Vol. 66 Issue 6, p585
Academic Journal
Many resident physicians do not receive sufficient education in statistical theory and study design to allow them to effectively interpret and apply the medical literature to patient care. A survey of 62 surgical residency programs identified that only 33 per cent include formal statistics teaching in their curricula. A structured curriculum was formulated to introduce surgical residents to basic statistical theory, common statistical tests, and study design. Lectures were integrated into an existing monthly journal club in which manuscripts reviewed were used to illustrate the statistical concepts taught. Knowledge improvement was determined using a multiple choice test given before and after completion of the curriculum. Mean test scores increased significantly as a result of the curriculum (P < 0.004). Formal statistics education using a structured curriculum significantly improves resident physician knowledge of statistical theory and study design. Such teaching can be easily integrated into a residency program's existing curriculum.


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