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Year : 2000  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 337-345

Teaching Behavior Change Skills to First-year Medical Students: A Small Group Experiential Approach

University of Utah Medical School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Correspondence Address:
Leonard J Haas
Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, 50 North Medical Drive, Room 1C26, University of Utah Medical School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT 84132
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Purpose: Develop and evaluate a course to help . rst-year medical students learn about health-related behavior change by focusing on their personal health goals. Course methods: Students each identi. ed two health-related behavior change goals for themselves. Lectures presented relevant content concerning behavior change. In small group, experiential sessions, students formed . ve-person teams and rotated positions as "patient," "doctor," "manager" and observers. "Doctors" and "patients" had one or two follow-up visits. Students evaluated their goal attainment and the value of their experience as "patient" and as "doctor." Sample: 100 . rst-year medical students. Results: Students chose exercise, nutrition, academic, interpersonal and psychological goals. Rating of the educational values and goal attainments were variable. Mean rating for educational value was 40%, and for goal attainment 55%. Conclusions: Experiential learning is valuable in introducing medical students to behavior change. Students learn from both the role of change agent and the role of "patient." Although the design of the course was cost-effective, with appropriate modi. cations considerably more impact could be gained from such a course. To improve this type of experiential learning we recommend careful attention to goal-setting, and more attention to developing the learners' feedback-giving and facilitation skills.

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