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Integrating Case Topics in Medical School Curriculum to Enhance Multiple Skill Learning: Using Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders as an Exemplary Case

Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90024, USA.
Academic Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 0.81). 04/2009; 33(2):143-8. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ap.33.2.143
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This article describes the use of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) as a theme to connect the learning of basic neurosciences with clinical applications across the age span within a systems-based, integrated curricular structure that emphasizes problem-based learning.
In collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, the Western Regional Training Center for Fetal Alcohol Exposure at UCLA developed and integrated educational materials on FASDs into the curriculum for first-year medical students.
Quantitative and qualitative evaluations suggested materials were effective in enhancing student knowledge and skills related to FASDs, as well as embryology, brain development, substance abuse, developmental psychopathology, and medical ethics.
The use of a unifying theme integrating basic science and clinical information and skills is effective for medical student training in the prevention and treatment of common medical problems.

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    • "Part of this challenge relates to a continuing need to improve FASD training among health care providers. Some providers may lack training in how to ask patients about prenatal alcohol exposure, in recognizing the features of FASD, and in making a diagnosis or knowing where to refer a patient for diagnosis (Elliott et al. 2006; FASD Regional Training Centers Consortium 2007; Gahagan et al. 2006; Paley et al. 2009). Stigmatization associated with FASD also may create obstacles in obtaining an accurate history of a child’s exposure to alcohol prenatally. "
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    • "Interventions that are aimed at reducing participation in high-risk activities (e.g., alcohol and drug use) would be especially important for alcohol-exposed teens, as would be programs designed to assist adolescents and young adults with PAE in negotiating tasks that will allow them to live and function independently. To facilitate diagnosis and treatment of FASDs, it is imperative that professionals working in health care, education, social services, and the criminal justice system are properly trained in how to recognize individuals with PAE and educated regarding appropriate interventions for this population [Gahagan et al., 2006; FASD Regional Training Centers Consortium, 2007; Wedding et al., 2007; Mutch et al., 2009; Paley et al., 2009]. "
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