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Radiology as a Longitudinal Theme

Posted by Dalhousie University on February 23, 2017 in News
Dr. Heather Curtis
Dr. Heather Curtis

In recognition of the hard work of all our faculty who participate in the teaching of the undergraduate learners at the medical school, Dr. Sutton, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Medical Education proposed the development of a Longitudinal Theme for Diagnostic Radiology in the Fall of 2016.  She invited Dr. Heather Curtis, our Undergraduate Program Director to present our current contribution to the undergraduate curriculum at the Undergraduate Medical Education Curriculum Committee in October 2016.  After this meeting, UMECC agreed to add Radiology as a Longitudinal Theme in Undergraduate Medicine.  She officially requested Dr. Heather Curtis take on the position of Longitudinal Theme Head for this component of the curriculum in January 2017.

Longitudinal themes represent areas felt to be essential to Medical Education but are not appropriate for a singular unit as they play a role in multiple units and components across the curriculum.  In the case of Radiology, we have been incorporated into Units across the four years of undergraduate education.  Other Longitudinal Themes in Undergraduate Medicine include:  Pharmacology, Anatomy, Biochemistry/Physiology, and Pathology.  This places radiology in the company of other, essential, foundational pieces in the learning of Medicine.

In this role, Dr. Curtis will be responsible for the day to day management of the curricular components related to Radiology across the four years of the medical education program.   These responsibilities will be supported by the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education.  Some of the responsibilities and roles that this position will entail will include liaising with the Med 1 and Med 2 Unit Heads, the PIER and clerkship directors in the preparation of unit schedules and integration of theme content into the program.  

For the first time, Radiology will have a role in assisting the Unit Heads in deciding required materials for the Units, will be able to review and update material for the curriculum database and map, will be able to advise Unit Heads, Component Heads and Clerkship Directors on issues relating to the longitudinal theme and act as a liaison for students.   The Longitudinal Theme Heads report to the Associate Dean as well as their own Department Heads.   In addition to these activities, the Longitudinal Theme heads are standing members of the Med1/2 Curriculum Committee, will attend the annual Curriculum Review Retreat and may be invited guests to Med3/4 and Undergraduate Medical Education Curriculum Committee meetings as required.

The role of Radiology in the undergraduate curriculum has increased yearly.  A reflection of the great teaching the students are receiving, their requests for more of the same, as well as the central role radiology plays in clinical medicine.   A sincere thank you to all faculty who participate in teaching at the medical school.  It is greatly appreciated and has been duly recognized.


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