Qualitative synthesis and systematic review of otolaryngology in undergraduate medical education

Stacey L. Ishman, Charles Matthew Stewart, Ethan Senser, Rosalyn Stewart, James Stanley, Kevin D. Stierer, James R. Benke, David E Kern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective Although 25% of primary care complaints are otolaryngology related, otolaryngology instruction is not required in most medical schools. Our aim was to systematically review existing literature on the inclusion of otolaryngology in undergraduate medical education. Data Sources PubMed, Embase, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, and Education Resources Information Center. Study Design/Review Methods Our search encompassed all indexed years through December 29, 2014. Inclusion criteria were English language, original human data, and a focus on medical student education. Data regarding study design, teacher, educational topic, educational methods, and setting were extracted from each article. Two investigators independently reviewed all articles. Results Our initial search yielded 436 articles; 87 underwent full-text evaluation and 47 remained in the final review. The majority of studies were conducted in the United States (40%), United Kingdom (23%), and Canada (17%) and represented a single institutional experience. Studies were classified as needs assessments (36%), curriculum descriptions (15%), educational methods (36%), and skills assessments (32%); 81% were levels of evidence 3 or 4. Most reports indicated that otolaryngology rotations are not compulsory. Conclusions Studies indicated the need for increased exposure to otolaryngology. Educational methods such as team-based learning, simulation, online learning, and clinical skills assessments may offer ways to increase exposure without overburdening clinical faculty and require further study. Data suggest that a universal otolaryngology medical student curriculum would be valuable and aid in resource sharing across institutions. We recommend that an assessment be performed to determine topics and skills that should comprise this curriculum. Level of Evidence NA Laryngoscope, 125:2695-2708, 2015

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2695-2708
Number of pages14
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • medical school education
  • Medical student
  • otolaryngology
  • otorhinolaryngology
  • systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Medicine(all)


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