Developing an integrated evidence-based medicine curriculum for family medicine residency at the University of Alberta

Acad Med. 2008 Jun;83(6):581-7. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181723a5c.


There is general consensus in the academic community that evidence-based medicine (EBM) teaching is essential. Unfortunately, many postgraduate programs have significant weakness in their EBM programs. The Family Medicine Residency committee at the University of Alberta felt their EBM curriculum would benefit from critical review and revision. An EBM Curriculum Committee was created to evaluate previous components and develop new strategies as needed. Input from stakeholders including faculty and residents was sought, and evidence regarding the teaching and practical application of EBM was gathered. The committee drafted goals and objectives, the primary of which were to assist residents to (1) become competent self-directed, lifelong learners with skills to effectively and efficiently keep up to date, and 2) develop EBM skills to solve problems encountered in daily practice. New curriculum components, each evidence based, were introduced in 2005 and include a family medicine EBM workshop to establish basic EBM knowledge; a Web-based Family Medicine Desktop promoting easier access to evidence-based Internet resources; a brief evidence-based assessment of the research project enhancing integration of EBM into daily practice; and a journal club to support peer learning and growth of rapid appraisal skills. Issues including time use, costs, and change management are discussed. Ongoing evaluation of the curriculum and its components is a principal factor of the design, allowing critical review and adaptation of the curriculum. The first two years of the curriculum have yielded positive feedback from faculty and statistically significant improvement in multiple areas of residents' opinions of the curriculum and comfort with evidence-based practice.

MeSH terms

  • Alberta
  • Curriculum*
  • Databases, Bibliographic
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / education*
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Internship and Residency* / economics
  • Organizational Objectives
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
  • Schools, Medical / organization & administration