In 2008 the JMP became the first Australian medical program to be run by two universities setting the precedent of expansion of medical education by partnership with an established medical program rather than incurring the cost and complexity of creating a new one.
There is a great deal that is still relevant in the principles laid out by the program's founders and much has been achieved in the last four years. However, there are always aspects of the program that can be improved especially in these times of great change in medical education in Australia and internationally.
The first steps in the renewal process were taken at a Steering Group meeting in Scone in May 2011. Following this meeting, a discussion paper proposing a new curriculum was prepared. A comprehensive consultation process then followed, which resulted in a revised curriculum containing the following key features:
- Retention of a five year program.
- Longitudinal themes (Professional, Scholarship, Community) throughout the curriculum.
- Student-selected elective pathways, eg. Indigenous health, global health, surgery, rural medicine.
- Retention of problem-based Learning, evolving in complexity from Year 1 to incorporate patient-centred learning by Year 3.
- Clinical rotations with a longer duration and making better use of available time, incorporating medical science teaching, laboratory simulation and competency based learning.
- Full year courses incorporating modules of intensive study followed by formative or summative assessment, feedback and opportunities for remediation within the year.
At a retreat in November, there was support for the general direction of the curriculum renewal process and for the revised curriculum framework presented. There was some discussion of the advantages of a program which led to the award of an Extended Masters degree (MD), in terms of national and international trends and the competitiveness of our graduates. A majority saw the advantages of the MD award, but there was a mixed response to the notion of increasing the length of the program in order to achieve this.
Current discussion - what are your thoughts?
As a consequence of ongoing debate regarding the MD, a model which allows all students to graduate with an MD after five years of study, consisting of a two year accelerated undergraduate component followed by a three year Masters component, was developed and endorsed by a majority of attendees at a retreat held in March 2012. Other key features of the renewed program were unchanged. This model received 'in principle' endorsement from the JMP Governance Committee in May 2012. Given the uniqueness of this model, it was decided that a comprehensive review of relevant literature be undertaken to provide a sound pedagogical basis for further curriculum development. For this to be accomplished, it is now proposed that the revised program commence in 2015.
We welcome your feedback. Please email any comments here.