Undergraduate Medical Education Curriculum Reforms in Pakistan: A Mixed Methods Study of Academic Leadership Perspectives

Saqib Kamran Bakhshi, Noreen Afzal, Asma Altaf Hussain Merchant, Komal Abdul Rahim, Namra Qadeer Shaikh, Ali Aahil Noorali, Maryam Pyar Ali Lakhdir, Muhammad Tariq, Adil H. Haider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


PURPOSE: Periodic revision of undergraduate medical education (UGME) curricula is an essential part of evidence-based educational practices. Pakistan's national UGME curriculum, last updated in 2005, was reviewed, and recommended updates were made in 2022. The authors explore academic medical school leaders' perspectives about the proposed reforms, gaps within the existing curriculum, and how to ensure the reform implementation is effective, collaborative, and feedback-driven. METHOD: Using a mixed methods approach, data were collected from April to July 2022. Academic leadership (principals, who could designate vice principals or medical educators) at all medical schools across Pakistan (n = 117) were invited. Agreement with each of 20 proposed reforms was measured via a survey employing a Likert scale. A semistructured interview guide expanded on the survey questions with probes. RESULTS: Eighty-eight survey responses, from private (59; 67.0%) and public (29; 33.0%) institutions, were obtained (75.2% response rate). Participants recommended most of the proposed reforms. The 3 reforms that received the highest agreement were teaching professionalism as an integral part of the curriculum (83; 94.3%), mandating bedside procedural skills training (80; 90.9%), and including patient safety in the UGME curriculum (79; 89.8%). Including multidisciplinary tumor boards and surgical oncology had the lowest agreement (26; 29.5%). Fifteen interviews were conducted, which revealed 3 major themes: perceptions about changes to the curricular content, limitation of human and financial resources as barriers to reform implementation, and recommendations for effective implementation of an updated curriculum. CONCLUSIONS: The findings reflect an overall positive attitude of academic medical school leadership toward the 20 proposed UGME curriculum reforms, which could aid with on-the-ground implementation. However, major limitations, such as a lack of trained faculty and financial resources, must be addressed. The authors propose future research on the resources required for implementing UGME reforms and the reforms' impact after national implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)794-800
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2024


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