An exercise for medical students in coronary risk screening allowed active participation in a learning process about preventive medicine. Students filled out questionnaires on smoking habits, measurements were made of blood pressure and body mass, and blood samples were drawn for serum cholesterol and postmeal glucose determinations. Students' risk factor values and class rank were subsequently posted along with a computed "coronary risk index" An animated discussion session about the data ensued, presumably because of the presence of actual student values in the distributions. Biostatistical and epidemiological principles were illustrated. A conceptual approach was provided to the multiple influences in chronic diseases as well as the rationale for risk detection and preventive efforts in practice. A follow-up questionnaire suggested good retention of the personal risk data, a possible change in student eating patterns (but not in smoking habit), and a preponderant enthusiasm for the learning experience. Subsequent years' experience profited from the first, and the exercise is now standard curriculum for Minnesota second-year medical students.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Dr. Mary Bradley, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, is responsible for the prompt analysis of the blood sugar data and supervisiono f studentv enipuncturesi n Year 1. Drs. Thomas Rose and Benjamin Fuller, Departmento f Medicine, encouragedt his exercise and obtainedt he Glucola in Year 1. Peggy Neibling, Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene, is responsiblef or the rapid and accurate analysis of the serumf or cholesterol. Jean Canner, Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene, is responsiblef or the efficientd ata handling and analysis program initiated in Year 1, so that all results were displayed and discussed with studentsw ithin 1 week of the screeningp rocedure. This work was supportedi n part by grants and contractsf rom the USPHS (Nos. NOl-HL-2-2971 and HE 0631 4)and the Preventive Cardiology Award of Mutual Service Insurance Companies, St. Paul.