Basic science curriculum in vascular surgery residency

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Vascular Surgery








Recognizing the importance of basic science teaching in surgical education, the leadership of the Association of Program Directors in Vascular Surgery (APDVS) appointed a panel to gather information and to present its findings at the 1999 Annual Fall Meeting of the APDVS. A questionnaire was distributed to the program directors present. In addition, information was gathered from the American Board of Surgery regarding the basic science content in the vascular surgery item pool on the Vascular Surgery Qualifying Examination (VQE). The vascular surgery unit of the surgical resident curriculum was also analyzed. Fifty-three program directors (64%) completed the questionnaire. Although only two program directors felt that their residents were better prepared to answer basic science questions, the results of the VQE showed that the examinees do not, as a group, perform differently on basic science items than on clinical management questions. In addition, only a minority of program directors (15%) use a specific method to monitor the learning process of their residents. The majority of the program directors responding (75%) felt that they were capable of teaching basic science to residents. Interestingly, almost half the 53 respondents (47%) said that a basic science curriculum should be comprehensive, not exclusively relevant to the clinical setting. VQE content outline and the vascular surgery unit of the surgical resident curriculum revealed great emphasis on clinically relevant basic science information. The APDVS panel recommends that a basic science curriculum should be comprehensive, yet clinically pertinent, and completely integrated with the clinical curriculum. In terms of how to teach basic science in vascular residencies, the panel supports teaching conferences that are problem-based with a faculty member acting as the "resource person" and with specific goals set for the conferences. The panel also suggested establishing a Web site that provides a series of questions, the answers of which could be readily available to trainees and program directors. Such immediate feedback could be of great help to program directors to focus the learning process of their residents and monitor its progress. (J Vasc Surg 2001;33:854-60.).

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