Preparing Future Medicine Physicians to Care for Cancer Survivors: Project ECHO® in a Novel Internal Medicine and Family Medicine Residency Curriculum

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Journal of cancer education : the official journal of the American Association for Cancer Education


Cancer survivorship education is limited in residency training. The goal of this pilot curriculum was to teach medicine residents a structured approach to cancer survivorship care. During the 2020-2021 academic year, we held eight 45-min sessions in an ambulatory noon conference series for a community family medicine (FM) and internal medicine (IM) residency program. The curriculum used Project ECHO®, an interactive model of tele-education through Zoom video conferencing, to connect trainees with specialists. Each session had a cancer-specific focus (e.g., breast cancer survivorship) and incorporated a range of core survivorship topics (e.g., surveillance, treatment effects). The session format included a resident case presentation and didactic lecture by an expert discussant. Residents completed pre- and post-curricular surveys to assess for changes in attitude, confidence, practice patterns, and/or knowledge in cancer survivorship care. Of 67 residents, 23/24 FM and 41/43 IM residents participated in the curriculum. Residents attended a mean of 3 sessions. By the end of the curriculum, resident confidence in survivorship topics (surveillance, treatment effects, genetic risk assessment) increased for breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers (p < 0.05), and there was a trend toward residents stating they ask patients more often about cancer treatment effects (p = 0.07). Over 90% of residents found various curricular components useful, and over 80% reported that the curriculum would improve their practice of cancer-related testing and treatment-related monitoring. On a 15-question post-curricular knowledge check, the mean correct score was 9.4 (63%). An eight-session curriculum improved resident confidence and perceived ability to provide cancer survivorship care.



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