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A Guide to Competencies, Educational Goals, and Learning Objectives for Teaching Human Embryology in an Undergraduate Medical Education Setting


With the rapidly changing course of medical education and ever-increasing time restrictions on basic biomedical science instruction, most educators have one question in common—what is the most relevant information for the next generation of physicians? The Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME) and the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) support a list of learning objectives for medical students defined by faculty prior to any educational activities, regardless of pedagogy. The question remains—what ensures competency for medical students in a given subject area upon completion of the course? To accomplish the task to ensure competency in human clinical embryology, a 6-month interactive online collaboration was formed. The outcome is a set of competencies in human embryology that should be required of all medical students, with the goals and learning objectives required to achieve these competencies.

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The authors wish to extend special thanks to the following clinicians for their help with reviewing the manuscript: Suzanne D Reuter, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Chief of Neonatology, Sanford School of Medicine, USD; Joseph A. Zenel, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Director of Pediatric Residency, Sanford School of Medicine, USD; Brenda Kallemeyn, MD, FACOG, Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sanford School of Medicine, USD; and Laurie Landeen, MD, Ob/Gyn Clerkship Director, Sanford School of Medicine, USD. We wish to thank Pamela Baker (Associate Dean/Associate Professor of Undergraduate Medical Education, Curriculum Development & Assessment, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati) for her expert opinion on the project. We express our gratitude to Lynne Opperman (Regents Professor and Head, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University College of Dentistry), Judith M. Venuti (Professor and Chair, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine), and Kimberly Topp (Professor, Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science and the Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco) for their help with reviewing the manuscript. We also wish to thank Shawn Boynes (Executive Director, AAA) and Elizabeth Austin (Communications and Marketing Manager, AAA) for their help and support.

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Correspondence to Manas Das.

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Das, M., Claeson, K.M., Lowrie, D.J. et al. A Guide to Competencies, Educational Goals, and Learning Objectives for Teaching Human Embryology in an Undergraduate Medical Education Setting. Med.Sci.Educ. 28, 417–428 (2018).

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  • Embryology
  • Medical education
  • Competency
  • Goals
  • Learning objectives