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Open Access Research article

Effect of a brief intervention on evidence-based medicine skills of pediatric residents

Eugene Dinkevich1*, Andrea Markinson2, Sama Ahsan3 and Barbara Lawrence3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pediatrics, SUNY-Downstate College of Medicine, 450 Clarkson Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, USA

2 Institute for Evidence-Based Practice, Medical Research Library of Brooklyn, SUNY-Downstate College of Medicine, 450 Clarkson Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, USA

3 SUNY-Downstate College of Medicine, 450 Clarkson Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, USA

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BMC Medical Education 2006, 6:1  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-6-1

Published: 10 January 2006



While Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) skills are increasingly being taught in medical schools, teaching quality has been insufficient, so that incoming pediatric residents lack adequate EBM skills required for patient care. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a brief teaching module developed to improve EBM skills of pediatric residents.


With-in subjects study design with pre- and post-test evaluation was performed in a large urban pediatric residency training program in Brooklyn, New York. We included PGY-1s during intern orientation, while second and third year pediatric residents were selected based on schedule availability. Sixty-nine residents were enrolled into the study, 60 (87%) completed the training. An EBM training module consisting of three or four weekly two-hour seminars was conducted. The module was designed to teach core EBM skills including (1) formulating answerable clinical questions, (2) searching the evidence, (3) critical appraisal skills including validity and applicability, and (4) understanding levels of evidence and quantitative results for therapy articles. A portion of the Fresno test of competence in EBM was used to assess EBM skills. The test presented a clinical scenario that was followed by nine short answer questions. One to three questions were used to assess EBM skills for each of the four core skills. The κ co-efficient for inter-rater reliability was 0.74 (95% CI: 0.56–0.92).


Prior to the training module, the residents achieved a mean score of 17% correct overall. Post intervention, the mean score increased to 63% with improvement in each EBM category. A mean of 4.08 more questions (out of 9) were answered correctly after the training (95% CI of 3.44–4.72).


A brief training module was effective in improving EBM skills of pediatric residents.