Objective: To determine the teaching methods, materials currently used, and unmet needs for teaching developmental-behavioral pediatrics (DBP) at pediatric training programs in the United States.
Design: Cross-sectional survey of US pediatric residency training programs. The survey questionnaire consisted of 3 instruments: a program director survey, a developmental-behavioral pediatrics survey, and an adolescent medicine survey.
Participants: Survey packets were mailed in January 1997 to 211 programs identified by mailing labels from the Association of Pediatric Program Directors.
Results: Data from 148 programs (70%) completing both the DBP survey and program director survey were analyzed. Ninety-five percent of programs reported a block rotation, and 95% of those stated that the rotation was mandatory. Eighty-seven percent had a formal curriculum. Most programs reported using articles, lecture outlines, and precepting for teaching DBP. Few programs used standardized case-based or computerized materials. Most programs, however, indicated a desire for these materials. Few programs felt that 4 topics were covered adequately: adoption (12%), violence (24%), substance use (28%), and conduct problems (41%). Programs that perceived that they covered these topics adequately were more likely to use written cases as part of their curriculum (Mann-Whitney test, 1373.5; P=.04). Barriers to teaching included lack of adequate faculty, time, money, and curricular resources.
Conclusions: Pediatric residency programs have made significant gains in mandatory DBP training. However, many programs report a lack of adequate faculty, teaching materials, and methods. Responding programs indicated an interest in case-based materials. This approach may represent an alternative and underutilized resource for teaching DBP.