A Case of Pancreatic Cancer: Abdominal Anatomy Team-Based Learning Module for Medical Students

Academic Article


  • Introduction: Team-based learning (TBL) is an instructional method utilized by the University of Alabama School of Medicine to facilitate collaboration and integration of concepts introduced in undergraduate medical training. This TBL was created for the Gastrointestinal module and facilitates understanding of anatomy of the retroperitoneal space, posterior abdominal wall, and neurovasculature of the abdomen. This module integrates topics from abdominal anatomy, radiology, and clinical decision-making for medical students. Methods: Prior to the TBL, students were provided with a set of learning objectives and three instructional video podcasts. During the in-class portion of the activity, learners completed the readiness assurance phase, which consisted of individual and team assessments. During the application phase, teams of five to six students collaborated on multiple-choice questions centered on the presentation, diagnosis, surgical intervention, and palliation of a patient with pancreatic cancer. TBL sessions were cofacilitated by an anatomist and a physician. Results: Since the TBL's institution in 2014, medical students have consistently performed better on the readiness assurance test in teams rather than individually. On a 5-point Likert scale, over 90% of students in the 2016 (M = 4.12) and 2017 (M = 4.20) Gastrointestinal modules agreed or strongly agreed on an end-of-course evaluation that the TBL activity was effectual for learning. Discussion: In a medical climate that continues to rely heavily on cross-sectional imaging, early integration of gross anatomy and cross-sectional anatomy is essential and can facilitate acclimation to the clinical years. This TBL would be a valuable addition to other undergraduate medical programs.
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    Author List

  • Bass RZ; Morgan DE; Brooks WS
  • Start Page

  • 10700
  • Volume

  • 14