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September 4, 2002

Evaluating the Teaching of Evidence-Based Medicine

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Medicine, St Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia (Dr Hatala); and Departments of Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario (Dr Guyatt).
Corresponding Author and Reprints: Gordon Guyatt, MD, MSc, FRCPC, McMaster University Health Sciences Centre, 1200 Main St W, Room 2C12, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 3Z5 (e-mail: guyatt@fhs.csu.mcmaster.ca).

JAMA. 2002;288(9):1110-1112. doi:10.1001/jama.288.9.1110

An increasing number of medical schools and residency programs are instituting curricula for teaching the principles and practice of evidence-based medicine (EBM). For example, 95% of US internal medicine residency programs have journal clubs1 and 37% of US and Canadian internal medicine residencies have time dedicated for EBM.2 Curricula based on EBM are increasingly popular in residency programs in other specialties, including family medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, and surgery.3 Despite the widespread teaching of EBM, however, most of what is known about the outcomes of evidence-based curricula relies on observational data. Although evaluation of the quality of research evidence is a core competency of EBM, the quantity and quality of the evidence for effectively teaching EBM are poor. Ironically, if one were to develop guidelines for how to teach EBM based on these results, they would be based on the lowest level of evidence.

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