Graduation Date

Spring 5-7-2022

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Medicine


College of Medicine

First Advisor

Megan Arthur, MD



Background: Non-dermatologist physicians perform ~60% of visits related to the primary diagnosis of a dermatological condition, yet dermatology education and training are extremely limited within medical school making up 0.23-0.3% of the curricula. This data points to the possible need for further educational resources for medical students regarding dermatology. In 2007, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) created a curriculum for medical students to use while on a dermatology clerkship to supplement their medical school curriculum. The goal of this study is to evaluate current University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) medical student’s confidence and ability in describing skin lesions and knowledge of various morphologies, and to determine if educational resources such as the AAD’s curriculum and an author created summary document would be utilized by students and be found beneficial.

Methods: An initial two-part survey was distributed to current UNMC medical students to determine their confidence and competency related to dermatological morphology before and after viewing the AAD’s Basic Dermatology Curriculum’s Morphology Module. Participants were also asked for their opinions on whether they feel they had received enough dermatology education while in medical school and if they felt the incorporation of similar module to the medical school curriculum would be beneficial. Participants were provided a summary document related to the module at the end of the initial survey for use in the clinical setting, and a follow-up survey after 3 months was distributed to determine document utilization and suggestions for improvement.

Results: The initial, two-part survey found that 59% (10/17) of participants did not feel that they had been provided enough education while in medical school on how to properly describe skin lesions and 82% (14/17) of participants had not viewed the AAD’s Basic Dermatology Curriculum Morphology module. Furthermore, mean participant confidence increased regarding knowledge of morphological terms and ability to describe skin lesions after viewing the AAD’s module when compared to prior (mean increase of 0.88 to 2.5 on 5 point scale). For the follow-up survey related to the summary document, 13% of participants had utilized the document and provided positive comments related to the document. Of the participants who did not utilize the document, 55% stated they had forgotten about the document and 32% reported they had not needed it since download.

Conclusion: The survey responses indicated a possible need for further education when it comes to dermatological morphology. Additionally, the authors are exploring the creation of a dermatological morphology focused module to provide to students and the addition of a small group session to practice morphology descriptions. Regarding the summary document, further incorporation of the document into the clinical environment at UNMC is being explored, and based on participant feedback, improvements to the summary document such as including a greater number of skin types are being implemented.