Strengthening public health education of undergraduate medical students through early primary healthcare services’ association

Arwa M. El Shafei, Mona I. El Lawindi


Background: The World Health Organization consultation paper on the teaching of community medicine 2010 highlighted the need to change the focus from didactic lectures to more interactive teaching learning methods. The objective of this study was detection of difference between didactic and early training at primary healthcare centers at different levels of knowledge, acquired skills, and attitudes of undergraduate medical students.

Methods: This interventional study included students of academic year 2017-18 had summer training course in public health department as a part of the Faculty aim of early clinical exposure of preclinical students (i.e., first three grades) (n=25). The public health training course focuses mainly on raising students' skills of basic primary health care services. Comparable group of 75 students from the regular system were randomly selected. This intervention aimed to design new educational process and determine its outcomes evaluating Learner’s knowledge, their attitudes, and gained skilled.

Results: The interventional group had positive attitudes ranging from 59-93% for different topics given. The conventional methods group had statistically insignificant higher scores in the summative assessment 20.5±2.2 versus 19.6±3.1 of the interventional group (p value 0.11). The acquired skills of the interventional group ranged from 9.3±2.1 to14.9±1.5.

Conclusions: Early field contact gained higher positive attitude among medical students and it showed high skill acquisition. It is recommended to be used more frequently in public health practical teaching for undergraduate students.



Public health education, Medical students, Early clinical exposure, Integrated teaching

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