Assessing the completeness of topic coverage in medical curricula is difficult to establish as no universal standard for completeness has been agreed upon. However, the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 Exam Content Outline may provide a beginning framework. This project developed a computer-based tool that matched ArizonaMed curriculum content (Tucson track) against a modified USMLE content outline. The project involved three phases: (1) the USMLE Step 1 content outline was deconstructed and translated using equivalent Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) terms; (2) a report was made of all MeSH terms used to identify the content in the ArizonaMed curriculum database, compared to the MeSH-modified USMLE outline, and the resulting matches are graphically expressed. The frequency with which each MeSH term appeared across the years also was reported; and (3) a retreat was held with faculty and others to ensure the MeSH-translated outline was accurate and complete. Faculty were able to visualize how content was being expressed among instructional blocks across the first two years. Results also assured faculty and students that all subjects contained in the USMLE content outline were covered in the curriculum. The success of this effort is leading to improvements in content-tracking capability for the ArizonaMed database.
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