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Stanford Report, April 26, 2000

Senate acts on curriculum reform, Gyn/Ob clerkship  

In separate actions during an April 19 meeting, the School of Medicine Faculty Senate increased the Gynecology/Obstetrics clerkship requirement from four to six weeks and appointed a committee to address issues of curricular reform in the MD program.

A scheduled discussion, to be led by Halsted Holman, MD, professor of medicine, about perceived threats to the School of Medicine's teaching program was postponed until the May 17 meeting.

Members of the senate charged a new Curriculum Reform Committee (CRC) with reporting back to the senate on June 14 after the group examines the school's nine-point statement of educational goals. The senate appointed 14 faculty members and authorized the naming of three student members of the committee, which will review the MD curriculum.

Following a discussion, members of the senate agreed to expand the committee from 11 to 14 members after several faculty members noted that the group as proposed included a minority of clinical specialists and no surgeons -- a major training constituency -- as well as only one woman.

Regina Casper, MD, professor of psychiatry and the only woman nominated to the CRC, said the senators should not seek to "develop a quota for women" when they considered committee membership.

Voting unanimously, the senate added two surgeons, David Terris, MD, and Ronald Weigel, MD, and a pediatric intensivist, Lawrence Mathers, MD, to expand clinical representation and announced that it would invite participation by additional interested women and minority faculty numbers. The three student members are to be nominated by student groups in coming weeks and approved by the senate at a later meeting.

In addition to Casper, Holman, Mathers, Terris and Weigel, faculty members include:

Ben Barres, MD, PhD, associate professor of neurobiology; Brian B. Hoffman, professor of medicine; Joseph S. Lipsick, MD, PhD, professor of pathology; Hugh McDevitt, MD, professor of microbiology and immunology; Peter Parham, PhD, professor of structural biology; Donald Regula, MD, associate professor of pathology; Matthew Scott, PhD, professor of developmental biology and of genetics; David K. Stevenson, MD, professor of pediatrics (neonatology); and Irving Weissman, MD, professor of pathology, of developmental biology and of biological sciences.

The broad nine-point goals, which address such issues as "to assure excellence in students' command of the fundamentals of clinical medicine," are listed in the Medical School Catalog (page 28).

In a separate action, the senate approved expanding the required Gyn/Ob clerkship to six weeks and deferred action on whether the additional two weeks should be added to the current 15-week clerkship requirement for medical students, or whether selective clerkships could be cut back to maintain the total time commitment for students. The measure was taken because only one other U.S. medical school, the University of South Carolina, has a formal Gyn/Ob clerkship as short as four weeks, said Neil Gesundheit, MD, associate dean for medical education. SR