Didactic Data on Display

By the Numbers: Curriculum Report 2, which presents data from the 2016 Didactic Curriculum Survey, is the second in a series of three curriculum reports, following publication of Curriculum Report 1: Prerequisites, last October. The third report, on clinical curriculum, is due out in October this year.

Curriculum Report 2 unveils new data and information on the didactic phase of PA education, including about satellite campuses and distance learning, learning management systems, the didactic phase requirements students must meet to move on to supervised clinical practice, and IPE experiences. It also presents detailed information on course structure, required contact hours, and methods of instruction and assessment in five didactic content areas:

  • Basic medical sciences (p. 5)
  • Clinical preparatory sciences (p. 12)
  • Behavioral & social sciences (p. 17)
  • Health policy & professional practice courses (p. 21)
  • Research courses (p. 26)

Programs also reported the hours they spend on eight special focus content areas: congestive heart failure, contraceptive methods, depression, diabetes mellitus, obesity, oral health, otitis media, and peptic ulcer disease/GERD (p. 33). On average, programs spent between 36 percent and 149 percent more time on diabetes mellitus than on any of the other topics. Is that what your program focuses on, too?

The didactic phase is a critical time for programs to help new PA students build key knowledge and prepare themselves for clinical work. How does your program’s curriculum compare?

If you are a researcher interested in getting access to raw data from this survey or a PA faculty member who would like a more focused custom report on certain items from this survey, please check out our data sharing policies.

If you have feedback or questions about this report, please send a message to the Research Team at