Quantity and Quality of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clerkships in US Medical Schools

Danny Benbassat*, Ronald M. Cervero, Matthew E. Miller, Nelson Hager, Abigail Konopasky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective The purpose of this study was to address two underreported issues in undergraduate physical medicine and rehabilitation medical education: quantity and quality of physical medicine and rehabilitation clerkships in US medical schools. Design A multimethod sequential design was used to evaluate the curricula of US medical schools. Quantity (N = 154) of physical medicine and rehabilitation clerkships was assessed by counting the number of required, selective, and elective clerkships in each medical school. Quality (n = 13) was assessed by conducting a thematic analysis on physical medicine and rehabilitation clerkship curricula to identify learning objectives. These objectives were then compared with learning objectives in a model standard. Results Whereas few medical schools required a physical medicine and rehabilitation clerkship, most offered elective rotations in physical medicine and rehabilitation. Most medical schools only included 6 of the 12 model standard learning objectives. Medical schools also included 29 learning objectives not present in the model standard. Conclusions Physical medicine and rehabilitation clerkships are not underrepresented but are underemphasized, in undergraduate medical schools. Furthermore, these clerkships use inconsistent learning objectives. Thus, findings suggest the need to draw attention to physical medicine and rehabilitation clerkships by offering them as selectives and to develop a list of standardized learning objectives. This exploratory study developed such a groundbreaking list and invites the physical medicine and rehabilitation community to test it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1152-1159
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Clerkship Standard
  • Learning Objectives
  • Medical Clerkships
  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation


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