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1.  Student centered curricular elements are associated with a healthier educational environment and lower depressive symptoms in medical students 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14(1):192.
Any curriculum change is essentially an environmental change; therefore there is a need to assess the impact of any change in the curriculum on the students’ perception of the Educational Environment (EE) and psychological well-being. The objectives of the current study are to (i) compare the EE perceptions of medical students studying in a System Based Curriculum (SBC) with those studying in a traditional curriculum (ii) compare the rate of depressive symptoms among the same students studying in both types of curricula (iii) determine whether there is a difference in the EE perception and depressive symptoms based on gender and year of study.
A cross sectional survey was conducted in a Saudi Medical School from 2007-2011, a period in which the school transitioned from a traditional to a SBC. A bilingual version of the Dundee Ready Educational Environment Measure (DREEM) inventory was used for measuring the EE; the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI II) was used for screening of depressive symptoms. A separate demographic questionnaire was also used. Mean scores and percentages were calculated. Continuous variables were summarized as means and standard deviation. For comparison of means, the effect size and student t test (with significance level of <0.05) were used. The percentages of the categorical data were compared using chi square test.
The mean total DREEM score of positive perception of the EE in the SBC students was significantly higher (better) than the traditional curriculum students (p < 0.01) with an effect size of 0.472. The mean total score on the BDI-II inventory for depressive symptoms was higher (sicker) 21.3 among the female traditional curriculum students than 16.7 among the male traditional curriculum students and the difference was statistically significant (p = 0.001). The BDI score of the female SBC students (14.7) was significantly lower (healthier) than the female traditional curriculum students (21.3). No similar change was noted for the male students.
The current study adds to the advantages of the SBC indicating not only healthier EE for both genders but also healthier emotional well-being for female students only.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-192) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4177056  PMID: 25227417
Curriculum; Educational environment; Depressive symptoms; Medical students
2.  Evaluation of Continuing Professional Development Program for Family Physicians  
Objectives: To evaluate the King Saud University Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Program for Family Physicians in relation to the Convenience, Relevance, Individualization, Self-Assessment, Interest, Speculation and Systematic (CRISIS) criteria.
Methodology: A descriptive study was conducted at King Saud University (KSU) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The authors used the six strategies of Convenience, Relevance, Individualization, Self-Assessment, Interest, Speculation and Systematic (CRISIS) for evaluation. The program was independently analyzed by the three authors using CRISIS framework. The results were synthesized. The suggestions were discussed and agreed upon and documented.
Results: The results indicate that KSU-CPD program meets the CRISIS criteria for effective continuing professional development and offers a useful approach to learning. The course content covers specific areas of practice, but some shortcomings were found that need to be improved like self assessment area and individual learning needs analysis.
Conclusion: This program is suitable for Family Physicians, as it is well planned and utilizes most of the principles of CRISIS, but there is still room for improvement. Designing a program for general practitioners using hybrid model that offers a blend of e-learning as well as face-to-face learning opportunities would be an ideal solution.
PMCID: PMC3809256  PMID: 24353556
Family Physician; Continuing medical education; Continuing professional development; Program evaluation; CRISIS
3.  Stress and Its Effects on Medical Students: A Cross-sectional Study at a College of Medicine in Saudi Arabia 
Medical education is perceived as being stressful, and a high level of stress may have a negative effect on cognitive functioning and learning of students in a medical school. This cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the prevalence of stress among medical students and to observe an association between the levels of stress and their academic performance, including the sources of their stress. All the medical students from year one to year five levels from the College of Medicine, King Saud University, were enrolled in the study. The study was conducted using Kessler10 psychological distress (K10) inventory, which measures the level of stress according to none, mild, moderate, and severe categories. The prevalence of stress was measured and compared with the five study variables, such as gender, academic year, academic grades, regularity to course attendance, and perceived physical problems. The response rate among the study subjects was 87% (n=892). The total prevalence of stress was 63%, and the prevalence of severe stress was 25%. The prevalence of stress was higher (p<0.5) among females (75.7%) than among males (57%) (odds ratio=2.3, χ2=27.2, p<0.0001). The stress significantly decreased as the year of study increased, except for the final year. The study variables, including being female (p<0.0001), year of study (p<0.001), and presence of perceived physical problems (p<0.0001), were found as independent significant risk factors for the outcome variables of stress. Students' grade point average (academic score) or regularity to attend classes was not significantly associated with the stress level. The prevalence of stress was higher during the initial three years of study and among the female students. Physical problems are associated with high stress levels. Preventive mental health services, therefore, could be made an integral part of routine clinical services for medical students, especially in the initial academic years, to prevent such occurrence.
PMCID: PMC3225114  PMID: 22106758
Academic achievements; Cross-sectional studies; Impact studies; Medical education; Stress; Saudi Arabia

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