Assessing curriculum effectiveness: A survey of uniformed services university medical school graduates

Katherine Picho, William R. Gilliland, Anthony R. Artino, Kent J. DeZee, Ting Dong, John E. McManigle, David F. Cruess, Steven J. Durning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study assessed alumni perceptions of their preparedness for clinical practice using the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) competencies. We hypothesized that our alumni’s perception of preparedness would be highest for military-unique practice and professionalism and lowest for system-based practice and practice-based learning and improvement. Method: 1,189 alumni who graduated from the Uniformed Services University (USU) between 1980 and 2001 completed a survey modeled to assess the ACGME competencies on a 5-point, Likert-type scale. Specifically, self-reports of competencies related to patient care, communication and interpersonal skills, medical knowledge, professionalism, systems-based practice, practice-based learning and improvement, and militaryunique practice were evaluated. Results: Consistent with our expectations as the nation’s military medical school, our graduates were most confident in their preparedness for military-unique practice, which included items assessing military leadership (M = 4.30, SD = 0.65). USU graduates also indicated being well prepared for the challenges of residency education in the domain of professionalism (M = 4.02, SD = 0.72). Self-reports were also high for competencies related to patient care (M = 3.86, SD = 0.68), communication and interpersonal skills (M = 3.88, SD = 0.66), and medical knowledge (M = 3.78, SD = 0.73). Consistent with expectations, systems-based practice (M = 3.50, SD = 0.70) and practice-based learning and improvement (M = 3.57, SD = 0.62) were the lowest rated competencies, although self-reported preparedness was still quite high. Discussion: Our findings suggest that, from the perspective of our graduates, USU is providing both an effective military-unique curriculum and is preparing trainees for residency training. Further, these results support the notion that graduates are prepared to lead and to practice medicine in austere environments. Compared to other competencies that were assessed, self-ratings for systems-based practice and practice-based learning and improvement were the lowest, which suggests the need to continue to improve USU education in these areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-128
Number of pages16
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


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