Wichita State University Uses Task Force Recommendations for Physician Assistant Students
In the "Preventive and Behavioral Medicine" course for physician assistant students at Wichita State University, Timothy F. Quigley, MPH, PA-C, uses the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations as the foundation of his curriculum.
Quigley says, "My course in preventive medicine is offered as one of the first courses in the physician assistant program. My goals are to introduce and emphasize the importance of preventive and evidence-based medicine in the practice of medicine. I find this is particularly important to do early in the students' careers."
For nearly 13 years, Quigley has used Task Force materials-initially providing hard copies of the recommendations as part of his classroom resources. As the formats for the distribution of the recommendations have expanded, student resources have multiplied, too.
As of early 2008, each student receives the pocket guide to the most current Task Force recommendations. "To pass the course, students must know the contents of that guide. I know the students appreciate having an accessible, easy-to-have-on-hand resource to carry with them as they enter our clinical curriculum," Quigley notes.
Because students are required to carry personal digital assistants, each student is also encouraged to download the Electronic Preventive Services Selector for use at patients' bedsides. This program lets users search Task Force recommendations by age, sex, and selected behavioral risk factors.
"My students have found these hand-held resources, in the form of the book or the PDA resource, particularly useful as they travel to rural primary care clinics where technology-based resources are limited. The tools provided by AHRQ and the Task Force allow students to bring the latest in evidence-based medicine from the academic center to the rural clinic to their everyday practice," comments Quigley.
Quigley's course has had over 500 students during his tenure as a clinical educator and Associate Professor at Wichita State University. "It is my hope that my students will maintain a healthy skepticism and always question the evidence behind practice trends. By educating my students early about AHRQ and the evidence-based Task Force recommendations, they will know where to find the information they seek to guide their clinical practice."
Founded in 1972, Wichita State University College of Health Professions offers the only physician assistant program in the state of Kansas. Of the more than 1,000 graduates of the program, 52 percent are working in primary care settings and 15 percent in underserved areas.