Tissue pathology in undergraduate medical education: atrophy or evolution?

J Pathol. 2004 Aug;203(4):871-6. doi: 10.1002/path.1601.


Changes are occurring in undergraduate medical curricula and there is limited published information about how contemporary tissue pathology is taught. The aim of this study was to collect information on this topic and to invite expert opinion about best teaching practice. A postal questionnaire survey of medical schools in the UK was performed, with a response rate of 23/28 schools (82%). The two most striking findings were the variation in teaching and learning strategies between schools and the spirit of the respondents, some relishing the challenges associated with reorganization and some thoroughly demoralized. The main concerns about pathology teaching were a feeling of lack of ownership of the content taught, an overall lack of visibility of tissue pathology in teaching and assessment, and staff shortages. Respondents valued the autopsy as an educational tool but were finding it increasingly difficult to provide. On the other hand, key opportunities for pathology teaching were highlighted through the questionnaire. The potential for developments in information technology and the possibility of creating national forums to develop core curricula and generate e-resources was recognized. The findings of this study will provide a milestone against which future change in pathology education can be measured.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / organization & administration
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / trends
  • Humans
  • Pathology / education*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Teaching / methods
  • United Kingdom