Background: Early in medical education, physicians must develop competencies needed for tobacco dependence treatment. Objective: To assess the effect of a multi-modal tobacco dependence treatment curriculum on medical students’ counseling skills. Design: A group-randomized controlled trial (2010–2014) included ten U.S. medical schools that were randomized to receive either multi-modal tobacco treatment education (MME) or traditional tobacco treatment education (TE). Setting/Participants: Students from the classes of 2012 and 2014 at ten medical schools participated. Students from the class of 2012 (N = 1345) completed objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs), and 50 % (N = 660) were randomly selected for pre-intervention evaluation. A total of 72.9 % of eligible students (N = 1096) from the class of 2014 completed an OSCE and 69.7 % (N = 1047) completed pre and post surveys. Interventions: The MME included a Web-based course, a role-play classroom demonstration, and a clerkship booster session. Clerkship preceptors in MME schools participated in an academic detailing module and were encouraged to be role models for third-year students. Measurements: The primary outcome was student tobacco treatment skills using the 5As measured by an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) scored on a 33-item behavior checklist. Secondary outcomes were student self-reported skills for performing 5As and pharmacotherapy counseling. Results: Although the difference was not statistically significant, MME students completed more tobacco counseling behaviors on the OSCE checklist (mean 8.7 [SE 0.6] vs. mean 8.0 [SE 0.6], p = 0.52) than TE students. Several of the individual Assist and Arrange items were significantly more likely to have been completed by MME students, including suggesting behavioral strategies (11.8 % vs. 4.5 %, p < 0.001) and providing information regarding quitline (21.0 % vs. 3.8 %, p < 0.001). MME students reported higher self-efficacy for Assist, Arrange, and Pharmacotherapy counseling items (ps ≤0.05). Limitations: Inclusion of only ten schools limits generalizability. Conclusions: Subsequent interventions should incorporate lessons learned from this first randomized controlled trial of a multi-modal longitudinal tobacco treatment curriculum in multiple U.S. medical schools. NIH Trial Registry Number: NCT01905618
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The study was supported by an investigator-initiated grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) 5 R01 CA136888.
- medical school curriculum
- medical student behaviors
- objective structured clinical examination
- randomized controlled trial
- tobacco dependence treatment