Providing a context for learning information and requiring learners to teach specific content has been demonstrated to enhance knowledge retention. To enhance students' appreciation of the role of science and specifically histology in clinical reasoning, disease diagnosis, and treatment, a new teaching format was created to provide clinical context, promote integration and application of science knowledge, and to foster peer teaching and learning: the Clinico-Histologic Conference (CHC) for the Mount Sinai School of Medicine Histology course. Teams of six students were each assigned specific disease processes and were charged with creating oral presentations and handouts that taught their classmates about the clinical manifestations, etiopathogeneses, diagnoses, and treatments of the assigned processes, along with comparisons of normal histology to the pathology of the disease. Each team also created four questions, some of which were used on Histology written examinations. The physician facilitator evaluated the presentation and handouts. About two-thirds of students agreed the CHC enhanced appreciation of the importance of histology, provided a context for integration and application of basic science to patient care and enhanced their ability to teach their peers. Student feedback demonstrated that the CHCs were successful in promoting teamwork, peer teaching, and the application of histology to diagnose diseases. The authors believe that teaching basic science content in this new format enhanced student learning and application of medical knowledge, and that this new teaching format can be adopted by other medical school courses.
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