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Despite sickle cell disease being the most common autosomal recessive genetic disorder worldwide, physicians tend to lack a complete understanding of the disease’s morbidity and mortality. This lack of knowledge can lead to healthcare disparities. This study, published in MedEdPORTAL, examines the impact of simulation-based curriculum on physician understanding of sickle cell disease.

The researchers created a 2-hour long curriculum that involved three sickle cell disease cases. These cases represented common complications of sickle cell disease, including acute stroke, acute chest syndrome, and septic shock. The goal of the curriculum was to increase physician knowledge and confidence in caring for this patient population.

Internal medicine residents completed a pre-test to assess their baseline knowledge of common complications of sickle cell disease. Next, the residents participated in the three simulation cases, worked through a differential diagnosis and key management steps for each case, and debriefed with faculty. The residents then repeated the pre-test 30 days after completion of the curriculum.

Ultimately, it was found that after completing the curriculum, the residents significantly improved their average test score from 33% to 57%. Their reported confidence in managing patients with sickle cell disease also increased significantly. The researchers concluded that simulation curricula could increase physician knowledge and confidence in managing critical illness in patients with sickle cell disease [1].


[1] Cramer-Bour, C., Peterson, J., Walsh, B., & Klings, E. S. (2021). Common complications of sickle cell disease: a simulation-based curriculum. MedEdPORTAL. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.11139

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