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Global core recommendations for a musculoskeletal undergraduate curriculum
  1. A D Woolf1,
  2. N E Walsh2,
  3. K Åkesson3
  1. 1Institute of Health and Social Care, Peninsula Medical School, Rheumatology Unit, Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro TR1 3LJ, UK
  2. 2Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, Texas, 78229-3900, USA
  3. 3Lund University, Department of Orthopaedics, Malmö University Hospital, SE-205 02, Malmö, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to:
    Professor A D Woolf
    Rheumatology Unit, Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro TR1 3LJ, UK;


Objective: To develop core recommendations for the learning outcomes of an undergraduate curriculum in musculoskeletal conditions for any parts of the globe.

Methods: Recommendations were developed by wide consultation with experts in orthopaedics, rheumatology, osteoporosis, and rehabilitation from all parts of the world who had interest and experience in these specialties, with the support of international and national societies. All possible knowledge, skills, and attitudes that might be of relevance to musculoskeletal conditions were initially considered and then reduced to those considered essential for all doctors.

Results: The recommendations focus on (a) basic skills to assess and diagnose musculoskeletal problems; (b) the competency to assess specific common or urgent musculoskeletal problems; (c) the theoretical background of the conditions and their management; and (d) the core knowledge necessary to support diagnosis and management, including basic sciences. At the end of the course, all students should be able to differentiate normal from abnormal locomotor symptoms in a patient, determine the relevant investigations and interpret the results, formulate a limited differential diagnosis, recognise the impact of the problem on the individual patient, and make an appropriate management plan.

Conclusions: The recommendations set global standards for the minimum level of competence in managing patients with musculoskeletal problems. They define what all doctors should know when graduating from medical school, regardless of further specialisation. They are intended to form the basis of a curriculum for a musculoskeletal course and can be adapted for any medical school in any country throughout the world.

  • undergraduate education
  • musculoskeletal conditions
  • curriculum
  • standards
  • teaching

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