Today’s medical students learn from state of the art technology, and finish medical school as some of the best-trained physicians in the world. However, research suggests that despite the great educational advances only 17 percent of medical students receive any training in urologic conditions. As the U.S. population ages, urologic conditions, such as prostate cancer, incontinence and erectile dysfunction, are becoming more prevalent. These conditions are often diagnosed by physicians in other specialties (such as primary care or internists), emphasizing the need for all medical students to receive basic training in urology, regardless of their chosen specialties. To ensure proper care for all patients, the American Urological Association (AUA) has released its National Medical Student Core Curriculum to train all medical students to successfully diagnose and treat common urologic conditions. The new curriculum is available online at: www.AUAnet.org/core.
“Despite the explosion of medical information that has occurred over time, it is still critically important that well-educated medical students learn the essentials in urology before they graduate, whether or not they elect to do a rotation in the field,” said Paul Turek, MD.
Price Kerfoot, MD, and Dr. Turek have published numerous studies on the state of urologic education in U.S medical schools, including a paper titled, “What every graduating medical student should know about urology: the stakeholder viewpoint.” The stakeholders surveyed included residency training directors in pediatrics, emergency medicine, family medicine and internal medicine, in addition to urology. In their aggregate opinion, the essential topics that a medical student core curriculum in urology should incorporate were: urinary stone disease, hematuria, urinary tract infections, benign prostatic hyperplasia, urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction, prostate cancer, screening with prostate-specific antigen and testicular torsion.
“Based on that research, the AUA developed an essential curriculum for all medical students,” said AUA President John Barry, MD. “Through this innovative, standardized curriculum, it is our hope that all students will learn the core principles and practices in urology that are important for every practicing physician to know and apply throughout their medical careers, regardless of their career paths.”
The curriculum includes lessons on major urologic conditions in addition to videos and interactive case studies. The case studies are fast-paced and engaging, and are designed to make the lessons engaging and interesting for students. A novel “spaced education” online examination is also being prepared for the curriculum.
The AUA is currently in the process of informing all medical schools of the new curriculum in the hope that it will be adopted across the country. Educators can teach from the curriculum or encourage students to learn it through independent study.
Contact Lacey Dean at 410-689-4054 or ldean@AUAnet.org for more information on the AUA’s new National Medical Student Core Curriculum or to conduct an interview with one of the following spokespeople:
- Paul Turek, MD, founder of The Turek Clinic (www.TheTurekClinic.com) and retired professor at the University of California San Francisco
- John Barry, MD, AUA president
About the American Urological Association: Founded in 1902 and headquartered near Baltimore, Maryland, the American Urological Association is the pre-eminent professional organization for urologists, with more than 16,000 members throughout the world. An educational nonprofit organization, the AUA pursues its mission of fostering the highest standards of urologic care by carrying out a wide variety of programs for members and their patients.
Lacey Dean, AUA