January 5, 2022

New publication by the Hortsch lab!


In an ever-changing medical curricular environment, time dedicated for anatomical education has been progressively reduced. This happened at the University of Michigan Medical School starting in 2016–2017 when preclinical medical education was condensed to one year. Histology instruction remained integrated in organ system courses but reduced to a lecture-only format without scheduling time for laboratory exercises, requiring students to study virtual histology slides on their own time. In accordance with the shortened instructional time, the number of histology examination questions was reduced more than twofold. This study analyzed students' histology examination results and assessed their motivation to learn histology and use of educational opportunities before and after these curricular changes were implemented. Students' motivation to learn histology and their evaluation of histology lectures increased in the new curriculum. However, students devoted less study time to studying histology. Students' cumulative histology examination scores were significantly lower in the new curriculum and the number of students with overall scores <75%, defined as a substandard performance, increased more than 15-fold. Academically weaker students' histology scores were disproportionately more affected. As medical educational strategies, priorities, and curricular frameworks continue to evolve, traditional didactic topics like histology will need to adapt to continue providing educational value to future health care providers.