Development and evaluation of a risk communication curriculum for medical students

UMMS Affiliation

Meyers Primary Care Institute

Publication Date


Document Type



Communication | Health Communication | Medical Education


OBJECTIVE: To develop, pilot, and evaluate a curriculum for teaching clinical risk communication skills to medical students.

METHODS: A new experience-based curriculum, "Risk Talk," was developed and piloted over a 1-year period among students at Tufts University School of Medicine. An experimental study of 2nd-year students exposed vs. unexposed to the curriculum was conducted to evaluate the curriculum's efficacy. Primary outcome measures were students' objective (observed) and subjective (self-reported) risk communication competence; the latter was assessed using an Observed Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) employing new measures.

RESULTS: Twenty-eight 2nd-year students completed the curriculum, and exhibited significantly greater (p < .001) objective and subjective risk communication competence than a convenience sample of 24 unexposed students. New observational measures of objective competence in risk communication showed promising evidence of reliability and validity. The curriculum was resource-intensive.

CONCLUSION: The new experience-based clinical risk communication curriculum was efficacious, although resource-intensive. More work is needed to develop the feasibility of curriculum delivery, and to improve the measurement of competence in clinical risk communication.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Risk communication is an important advanced communication skill, and the Risk Talk curriculum provides a model educational intervention and new assessment tools to guide future efforts to teach and evaluate this skill.

DOI of Published Version



Patient Educ Couns. 2014 Jan;94(1):43-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2013.09.009. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Patient education and counseling

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID