Document Type


Publication Date

January 2004


This article was published in Family Medicine, January 2004, Vol. 36 (Suppl.), pp. S138-S145. The Society of Teachers of Family Medicine allows free access to Family Medicine.


BACKGROUND: This study evaluated the processes of curricular change and the initial outcomes of the Undergraduate Medical Education for the 21st Century (UME-21) project at 18 schools.

METHODS: Site visits were conducted at eight partner schools in 1999 and 2001. Written proposals, progress reports, and final reports of 18 schools were reviewed. Senior medical students' responses to questionnaires, including the annual Association of American Medical Colleges Graduation Questionnaire and a UME-21 supplemental graduation questionnaire, were analyzed.

RESULTS: There was variation among the schools in the curriculum at baseline, in the structure of the UME-21 innovation that was introduced, and in the process of implementation. There was an increase in seniors' ratings of instruction in the newer areas of evidencebased medicine, quality assurance, and cost-effectiveness in relation to national norms between 1999 and 2001. There was less impact on the more traditional content areas of ethics, patient communications, prevention, and leadership skills.

CONCLUSIONS: The circumstances of the national evaluation introduced many methodological complexities, some of which could have been avoided if planning for evaluation had started earlier. However, the evaluation revealed that even modest funding directed toward specific curricular goals can produce measurable change and can have effects that extend beyond the initial scope of the project.

Included in

Psychiatry Commons