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Radiology is Making a Comeback, and Is Now a Central Part of Medical Education

Howard University College of Medicine is updating their first-year curriculum to include courses that integrate radiology with anatomy studies. This initiative was introduced as a response to managing funding, faculty, and time constraints.

Built on a five-tier curriculum, the program encourages individualized and group study in order to master free DICOM image-viewer software. First, in order to gain a foundation of anatomy, students learn the basics through standard dissections. Next, they study annotated radiology atlases. Then, they take an open-group discussion quiz. The fourth step includes small group studies on clinical cases using diagnostic images. Lastly, students take radiographic tests.

In adhering to budget limitations, the courses featured YouTube-style video tutorials and quizzes. There is no limit on how many times quizzes can be taken, so students are expected to eventually score 100 percent. According to study authors, this component “reduces the importance of a traditional motivator: punishment.” It’s also an approach that “promotes ‘autonomous learning’ where the learner focuses on what they felt is important and interesting, and is consistent with the self-determination theory for medical education.”

In effort to replicate the way radiologists analyze images, all tests and quizzes are based on image datasets that are downloaded to their personal computers. The program asserts that the courses can be implemented into any existing preclinical curriculum at almost any medical school, as its format is congruent with modern education guidelines.


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