Teaching non-clinical topics: lessons from a public health module for medical students

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A new public health teaching for medical students in year four was introduced. This paper evaluates the planning and implementation of the first year of delivery.


Kern et al’s six step approach to curriculum development was used as an evaluation framework:

• Problem identification

• Needs assessment

• Goals and objectives

• Educational strategies

• Implementation

• Evaluation and feedback

The delivery of the programme was assessed by direct observation of teaching and the end of year teaching review meeting, plus data from student feedback questionnaires.


Problem identification was based on student feedback and gap analysis of the medical school curriculum against the standards set out in the GMC’s Outcomes for Graduates. The public health learning needs of the medical students were examined from the perspectives of the students, the medical school and the NHS. Goals and objectives were chosen using the Outcomes for Graduates set out by the GMC as a basis. The module used a mixture of face-to-face and online teaching using a range of pedagogic approaches. The teaching was very interactive throughout and emphasised the links between public health and clinical medicine. Students completed anonymous feedback questionnaires which were overwhelmingly positive. The student feedback, plus feedback from the student representative, was used to inform changes in the programme implemented the following academic year.


This new public health module has successfully integrated into the clinical curriculum. Lessons learnt from the first year of implementation are transferable to the delivery of other non-clinical topics.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Oct 2016