Curriculum Reform Emphasizes Problem-Based Learning at Hawaii Medical School

Preparing Physicians for the Future: A Program in Medical Education

The University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine expanded major academic changes initiated in the years prior to grant funding.

The initiative was funded under the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) Preparing Physicians for the Future program.

Key Results: Under the grant, the school accomplished the following:

  • Expanded Problem-based learning (PBL), which was already the basis for instruction in the first two years, into the third and fourth years of the curriculum.
    • The program trained 180 local physicians and 150 clinical faculty to teach PBL.
  • Implemented a 12-month interdepartmental clerkship, emphasizing continuity of care in an ambulatory clinic setting. About 10 to 20 percent of each third year class enrolled in the program.
  • Moved forward the integration of basic sciences and clinical instruction across all four years of the curriculum despite resistance from basic science faculty.
  • Increased the number of basic science lectures. These lectures were more integrated and less discipline-specific.