Evolution and Revolution in Medical Education: Pre-Matriculation Programs

Des Moines, IA US
September 18, 2014

Series Description

Biomedical scientists, along with clinical practitioners, have critical roles in training health care students in the scientific basis of medicine and in the research progress to combat disease. Exciting educational opportunities exist for future biomedical science faculty members. New schools require more pre-clinical and clinical teachers, new educational methods provide team-teaching opportunities and new ideas for research may spring from teaching in a clinical context.

This series of webcast seminars will address different approaches to facing opportunities and challenges and will include sessions on developing and improving observational skills in small group teaching sessions and preceptorships, giving and receiving feedback, as well as descriptions of specific university and organizational programs that assist graduate students in developing teaching skills for health-science courses and integrative programs.

Webinar Description

Prematriculation programs, like all programs, are a collection of coordinated activities designed to correct deficiencies in needed skills. In particular, prematriculation programs address competencies needed by students for rapid adjustment to the medical curriculum so that their education can be maximally effective. This raises the immediate question, “Why isn’t premedical education an adequate prematriculation program?” The simple, perhaps oversimplified, answer is “heterogeneity.” On the surface, it would appear that the important heterogeneity is in content background in spite of standard admissions prerequisites. This is evident in many prematriculation programs that provide exposure to content specifically designed to familiarize the student with early courses in medical school. Dig a little deeper and you find heterogeneity in the capacity of new students to adapt from the relatively flexible premedical environment to the less flexible medical curriculum. However, both of these types of heterogeneity exist as effects and not causes of successful skill acquisition in medical education. The heterogeneity that exists as a “cause” is the level of understanding of what a “learning skill” really is. Without this understanding, awareness is absent and in the absence of awareness, skill acquisition is impossible. Such skill areas would include problem analysis, visual recognition, communication, motor (both fine and gross), and procedural skills. Perhaps we need to address more than cognitive performance in prematriculation programs if they are to provide a lasting effect. 

In this one-hour Web Audio Seminar, Dr. Pelley will provide a sampling of the various general approaches that he has experienced at his own institution and as a participant at other institutions. The discussion period may bring out additional program designs for comparison. The purpose is to illustrate the nature of the problems that are addressed and the general expectations of faculty for new medical students. A suggested prioritization of skill development will be suggested using the Expert Skills Program at Texas Tech as an example of a low resource, time efficient strategy to start the student on the path to Mastery Learning. The objective will be to help participants compose a program that can develop the student while they are in the premedical education environment that continues to scaffold their experience throughout medical school. Issues in measuring program effectiveness will be addressed. We can tell our students, “Our goal is not just to help you survive, but to help you match well for a residency!”

Target Audience

DMU faculty and staff.


John Pelley, PhD
Professor, Department of Medical Education, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, School of Medicine

Dr. Pelley is a professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Biochemistry at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine. During his tenure at Texas Tech he served for a decade as an Associate Dean in administration of the medical school curriculum. The challenges of helping students with learning issues caused him to acquire a strong interest in the learning process and he has devoted the last 25 years to educational projects to improve the ability of medical students to cope with their medical training. He has written a book, Success Types in Medical Education, that summarizes his experience with learning styles and he speaks regularly at medical schools helping faculty, staff and students understand how to promote expert self-directed learning. His work has been recognized through the Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award at the 2010 meeting of the American Association of Medical Colleges. His website, “The Success Types Medical Education Page,” is used as a free access educational resource at medical schools and other educational institutions around the world.

Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 CE Contact Hour(s)
Course opens: 
Course expires: 
Event starts: 
09/18/2014 - 11:00am CDT
Event ends: 
09/18/2014 - 12:00pm CDT
Des Moines University
3200 Grand Avenue
Ryan Hall 181
Des Moines, IA 50312
United States

Available Credit

  • 1.00 CE Contact Hour(s)


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