Post-Carnegie II curricular reform: A north American survey of emerging trends & challenges

Arnyce R. Pock*, Steven J. Durning, William R. Gilliland, Louis N. Pangaro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: In 2010, coincident with the 100th anniversary of Flexner's sentinel report, the Carnegie Foundation published an updated review of North American medical education and challenged medical schools to initiate further educational reforms. Specific recommendations pertained to a) ensuring standardized outcomes while allowing for individualized processes, b) integrating foundational knowledge with clinical experience, c) cultivating habits of inquiry and innovation and d) professional identity formation. As we approach the 10-year anniversary of this latest report, we sought to determine what type of curricular revisions have been emerging within the past decade and what types of challenges have been encountered along the way? Methods: In 2018, an electronic survey was sent to all 166 Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) accredited North American Medical Schools, using the points of contact (educational deans) that were listed in a publicly available, Association of American Medical Colleges database. Free text comments were grouped into themes using the constant-comparative technique. Results: Sixty unique responses yielding a 36.14% response rate. The distribution of responses was proportionally representative of the distribution of public vs. private, old vs. new vs. established North American medical schools. Self-reported curricular changes aggregated into five main themes: Changes in curricular structure/organization, changes in curricular content, changes in curricular delivery, changes in assessment, and changes involving increased use of technology/informatics. Challenges were predominantly focused on overcoming faculty resistance, faculty development, securing adequate resourcing, change management, and competition for limited amounts of curricular time. Conclusions: Changes in curricular organization, content, delivery, assessment and the use of technology reflect reforms that are broad and deep. Empowering faculty to "let go" of familiar constructs/processes requires strong leadership, particularly when initiating particularly disruptive curricular changes, such as relocating the Step 1 examination or shifting to a competency-based curriculum. While North American medical schools are responding to the calls for action described in the second (2010) Carnegie Foundation report, the full vision has yet to be achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number260
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 12 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Curriculum reform, curricular revision
  • Undergraduate medical education


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