National ultrasound curriculum for medical students

Ultrasound Q. 2014 Mar;30(1):13-9. doi: 10.1097/RUQ.0000000000000066.


Ultrasound (US) is an extremely useful diagnostic imaging modality because of its real-time capability, noninvasiveness, portability, and relatively low cost. It carries none of the potential risks of ionizing radiation exposure or intravenous contrast administration. For these reasons, numerous medical specialties now rely on US not only for diagnosis and guidance for procedures, but also as an extension of the physical examination. In addition, many medical school educators recognize the usefulness of this technique as an aid to teaching anatomy, physiology, pathology, and physical diagnosis. Radiologists are especially interested in teaching medical students the appropriate use of US in clinical practice. Educators who recognize the power of this tool have sought to incorporate it into the medical school curriculum. The basic question that educators should ask themselves is: "What should a student graduating from medical school know about US?" To aid them in answering this question, US specialists from the Society of Radiologists in Ultrasound and the Alliance of Medical School Educators in Radiology have collaborated in the design of a US curriculum for medical students. The implementation of such a curriculum will vary from institution to institution, depending on the resources of the medical school and space in the overall curriculum. Two different examples of how US can be incorporated vertically or horizontally into a curriculum are described, along with an explanation as to how this curriculum satisfies the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education competencies, modified for the education of our future physicians.

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum*
  • Education, Medical / organization & administration*
  • Educational Measurement*
  • Radiology / education*
  • Students, Medical
  • Teaching / methods*
  • Teaching / organization & administration*
  • Ultrasonography*
  • United States