Enhancing Medical Professionalism

--- Curriculum Reforms at National Taiwan University College of Medicine

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The goals of NTUCM are:

1. Cultivate physicians with modern medical knowledge and concepts to improve human health.

2. Cultivate medical specialists and scientists to teach and perform research in medicine and health sciences.

3. Promote research in biomedicine and health sciences in order to solve local health problems and advance basic knowledge in biomedicine.

In order to achieve these goals, NTUCM established its educational objectives: to cultivate medical personnel who can meet the societal needs of the 21st century; and to cultivate a new generation of healthcare providers, leaders, researchers and educators to develop innovations in medical care, academic research and medical education.

NTUCM has been engaged in curriculum reforms of medical education since 1992; the new program emphasizes general as well as specialist education, and scientific as well as humanistic professional competencies. In general, students are expected to develop professionalism, vision, and critical thinking through the improved curriculum, under the NTUCM tradition of the pursuit of excellence. The new curriculum introduced small group tutorials which aim to help students to develop habits of active learning and familiarity with scientific methods. Students are educated to become medical experts who are able to solve problems, to generate new knowledge, and to conduct independent and groundbreaking investigations.

The missions of NTUCM graduate institutes are to cultivate medical research experts and raise medical academic standards. By providing an enriching environment, an excellent support system and the superb instruction of our professors, we hope our students can continue their careers conducting innovative research and engaging in life-long learning.

Administrative adjustment has been carried out in order to achieve these educational goals. The Office of Academic Affairs was reorganized in 1992 to include three sections: curriculum, evaluation, and education. The Office for Medical Education was also set up at NTUH in the same year. College-level curriculum committees and education development committees were established in 1993. The education division of the Office of Academic Affairs became the Office of Medical Education at NTUCM in 1995 and was divided into divisions of teaching, planning, integration, development and evaluation in 1996; it was further divided into divisions of tutorial instruction, curriculum integration, research and development, teaching evaluation and general education in 2007. The Office of Medical Education is currently supervised by the Curriculum Committee and the NTUH Office of Medical Education is supervised by the Clinical Medical Education Committee. Furthermore, the Faculty Development Committee was founded for the long-term development of medical education.

​Due to changes in Taiwan's society and the advancement of medical technology, the traditional medical education system was not able to meet the needs of the contemporary society. Curriculum reform at NTUCM included the integration of basic and clinical sciences, the foundation of a core curriculum and medical humanities courses, and the implementation of student-centered, active-learning, and problem-based small group tutorials. Starting in 2008, NTUCM reformed both the formal and the hidden curriculum to strengthen medical professionalism. We invited all stakeholders to reach a consensus on the essential competencies of our graduates and revised the curriculum accordingly. For example, we introduced standardized patients into the longitudinal curriculum to develop communication competency. Dean Yang also instituted an award for altruism to balance the traditional emphasis on academic performance. Finally, we are currently in the process of establishing a graduate institute of medical education and bioethics to further build up NTUCM's capacity in medical education.  

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