Brian S. Andrews M.B., M.D. and Johanna Shapiro, Ph.D.
A unique multidisciplinary second year medical school course, Patient-Doctor II (PD II), was established at the University of California Irvine, incorporating both clinical and non-clinical disciplines. The impetus for this course stemmed from student and faculty dissatisfaction with many isolated courses that were predominantly lecture based. The changes that have been effected include i) integration of these multiple courses into a coherent single course, ii) integration of the major basic sciences (biochemistry, pathology and pharmacology) within the course structure, iii) replacement of many formal lectures by small group discussions and peer-driven learning, with exploratory learning guided by defined objectives, iv) increased participation by students in the planning of changes in the course and v) changes in the way history taking, physical examination and clinical reasoning were taught. Since the development of PD II, there has been a marked improvement in student and faculty satisfaction, as well as a progressive increase in the scores for the USMLE (part I).