July 8, 1999


FORT WORTH, TEXAS -- The University of North Texas Health Science Center’s Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM) will implement a new medical school curriculum in August, emphasizing a body organ system-based format and an integrated curriculum that incorporates additional computer technology in the learning process. The new curriculum will begin with TCOM’s Class of 2003.

The new curriculum is designed to enhance incoming medical students’ ability to understand, remember and apply their medical knowledge and skills to clinical practice. This method allows students to study clinical cases throughout the first two years, which is earlier than the previous curriculum allowed. Existing course content will be reorganized by body organ systems, such as cardiovascular, nervous and respiratory systems.

According to Warren Anderson, Ed.D., dean for educational affairs, the integration of clinical teaching and basic science knowledge will be key to the new learning method. The goal with increasing clinically related teaching throughout the first two years is to create more clinical relevance to the basic sciences, such as anatomy, physiology and molecular biology, rather than the basic sciences taught in isolation.

"When student doctors work in clinic settings their third and fourth years of medical school, the basic science knowledge will be easier to recall and apply with this approach," said Dr. Anderson. "We also want to design teaching that can be shared through the use of electronic media, such as conducting small group learning experiences via the Internet."

For faculty, a new curriculum enables new approaches to teaching and increased effectiveness in educating medical students due to greater collaboration among faculty from both basic science and clinical departments.

According to Benjamin L. Cohen, D.O., executive dean for TCOM and vice president for health affairs at the UNT Health Science Center, wider use of computer-based teaching and testing in the new curriculum will prepare medical students for the use of computers in licensure testing and in their medical practices.

"Board exams rely heavily on clinical formats, so the new curriculum will allow for better student preparation for board exams," said Dr. Cohen. "The new curriculum will allow us to remain dedicated to the development of primary care osteopathic physicians."