Journal of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery (Jan 2023)

Dermatology core curriculum in medical school and its association in the selection of dermatology as a future career: A nationwide cross-sectional study

  • Asem M Shadid,
  • Norah A Albdaya,
  • Mosfer S Aldosari,
  • Mohammed Habib,
  • Reema M Aldera,
  • Danah H Almohaimeed,
  • Saad Altalhab

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 27, no. 2
pp. 58 – 62


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Background: The shortfall of dermatology curricula during medical school greatly impacts the knowledge about common skin diseases and clinical skills. The lack of exposure to dermatology hampers the decision for students to consider pursuing dermatology and their preparation for matching. Purpose: The aims of this study were to assess the current state of dermatology curricula in medical school and to determine the relation of those factors to the selection of dermatology as a career. Methods: A nationwide cross-sectional study was conducted between September 2020 and May 2021 using a previously published questionnaire distributed to 25 universities across all regions of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Results: Out of 1411 participants, around half reported having only 1–4 h of basic and clinical dermatology lectures. Forty-four percent were required to rotate in dermatology. Half of the respondents were expected to treat acne, sexually transmitted diseases, herpes, and candidiasis after finishing the dermatology course. Students in clinical years (odds ratio [OR] = 0.6 and confidence interval [CI] = 0.39–0.92) and interns (OR = 0.54 and CI = 0.30–0.94) were more likely to consider dermatology as their future career. Having a dermatology program in their university tended to generate interest in dermatology as a career choice (OR = 2.24 and CI = 1.55–3.24). Compared to students who did not complete a core dermatology course, students who completed core dermatology courses were twice as likely to be interested in dermatology as a future career (OR = 1.91 and CI = 1.35–2.70). Conclusion: Including core dermatology topics in the medical curriculum can help address community health needs and give students needed clinical experience and a basis for considering dermatology as a career path.