Highlights of this Course
This course teaches the basic skills needed to critique the medical literature by providing a fundamental understanding of epidemiology and biostatistics. One highlight of the course is the Small Group Session. The small group format provides one with an excellent opportunity to closely interact with a faculty member by enhancing the concepts taught in the lectures and clarifying questions concerning the lecture material.
The primary purpose of this course is to teach you basic skills to critique the medical literature. As future physicians you have an obligation to remain current in your field of practice and to treat patients according to generally accepted standards of care. To do this well you will need to read those journals that are considered the most important sources of new information impacting on your field of medicine.
For example, internal medicine physicians generally read the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) which is published by the Massachusetts Medical Society. Perhaps the most influential medical journal, its articles are widely reviewed by the media. Most surgeons read the Annals of Surgery. In short, each field of medicine has its own specialty journals.
As your patients hear media reports about the latest research results, they will most certainly ask for your opinion: Should adult patients take antioxidants to help prevent heart disease? Do the potential benefits of hormonal replacement in postmenopausal women outweigh the potential risks?
Your responses, in part, will be based on your interpretation of the medical literature. True, your opinions should be formed with other input too: What do physicians with expertise I respect say? Has a specialty society, such as the American College of Pediatrics, issued an opinion? What does the Surgeon General think?
The primary goals of the small group sessions are to clarify questions you may have concerning lecture material and to enhance the concepts taught in lectures. The small group format provides you with an excellent opportunity to closely interact with a faculty member. Your instructor will spend the first portion of each lab reviewing lectures since the last small group session. This is your opportunity to ask questions. Don't feel embarrassed to ask a question. As physicians you must fully understand all the complicated issues that might exist with your patients, and you should not hesitate to ask consultants to explain points you might not understand. Students unable to attend a small group session should so inform their small group instructor before the small group session and arrangements should be made for the instructor to receive the completed homework before class.
Please note that the course as presented here does not contain the full content of the course as taught at Tufts. The included content is based on material the Tufts faculty and instructors choose to include, as well as factors such as content preparation, software compatibility, and intellectual property and copyright restrictions.