Background: Critical thinking and research are considered priority domains for medical education and their introduction into the medical curriculum significantly improves learning. The School of Medicine at the University of Valparaíso has offered a competency-based curriculum since 2005, which includes two courses of progressive formation: 'Research Methodology' (RM) and 'Evidence-Based Medicine' (EBM). In this program the student starts by elaborating primary studies and in the second stage develops critical thinking tools oriented to the identification, analysis and integration of the evidence.
Objectives: To describe the integrated training program RM/EBM offered at the School of Medicine at the University of Valparaíso.
Methods: Descriptive analysis of the theoretical and practical activities of the RM/EBM programs and their final autonomous work.
Results: This integrated program is given during semesters 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the career, for six hours per week, with three on-site class hours and three hours of autonomous work. The thematic units of the RM course (semesters 5 and 6) and EBM course (semesters 7 and 8) and their learning objectives are shown in figure 1.
During classroom hours for both courses, lectures and group workshops are developed, with team-based and case-based learning methodologies. Throughout the autonomous work hours, students develop an independent group project: in RM a primary investigation protocol and during EBM a synthesis of evidence centered on the critical analysis of the best evidence to answer a clinical question posed by the students themselves.
Conclusions: The integrated RM/EBM program of the University of Valparaiso represents an early, integrated and continuous curricular program for medical students, allowing them to achieve significant knowledge and training regarding critical appraisal of scientific evidence, while considering the values and preferences of patients and other stakeholders.
Patient or healthcare consumer involvement: Patients and other stakeholders are included in the final thematic unit of the EBM course. Panel discussion sessions are held to debate different topics regarding shared decision-making, conflicts of interest and legal clinical cases. The draft of this work has been revised by the Institutional Ethics Committee at the University of Valparaíso.