Over the last nine months the Academy has developed a Core Curriculum of critical knowledge for a healthcare provider to possess in order to be an HIV Specialist. We began from the premise that to define an HIV Specialist was to define what that specialist must understand about the virus, its treatment, and the people who suffer its effects. The curriculum was crafted with a panel of 50 of the nation's leading frontline clinicians, academics, and other experts in the field of HIV medicine. Together, this panel drafted a consensus document outlining the topics, issues, and facts that every HIV Specialist should know. They then specified 250 Educational Objectives critical for a frontline provider to meet to be considered an HIV Specialist. This Core Curriculum is a unique educational tool designed to be used in a wide array of educational efforts by many different organizations.
One of these uses will be aiding HIV Specialists in assessing and expanding their current treatment knowledge. Many of the Educational Objectives are familiar to experienced HIV treaters. For example, most of us have known for years at least six symptoms of seroconversion. So for a practical Study Guide, the Academy has selected the 28 objectives that represent the most recent advances in HIV treatment, for example, how and when to combine amprenavir and lopinavir/ritonavir, knowledge that has come to us just in the past 12 months.
Using the Educational Objectives, the Academy is also designing a short self-assessment tool that HIV Specialists can use to make sure their knowledge and understanding of treatment methods are as current as possible. The self-assessment tool includes about 60 questions and takes less than an hour to complete -- and is weighted to emphasize the 28 most recent Educational Objectives.
A self-directed Study Guide for all 250 Educational Objectives will be available by the end of this year. It will list all of the clinical and factual data needed to meet the objectives, ranging from the symptoms of seroconversion to how amprenavir and efavirenz should be used together.
The Educational Objectives, Study Guides, and self-assessment tool can become core elements in a variety of educational programs. They can be valuable to private practices, medical groups, specialty organizations, and larger institutions, which can use them to help keep up with recent changes in HIV knowledge that affect their practices. Residency organizations can use them to develop their HIV treatment curricula. Medical groups can use them internally to certify and recognize members with knowledge of critical issues in HIV medicine. And continuing medical education organizations can use them in their educational programs.
This, in the end, is the mission of the American Academy of HIV Medicine -- to promote excellence in HIV/AIDS care, and helping HIV Specialists stay current helps them provide the best possible care to their patients. Anything we can do to promote our collective body of knowledge is not only our mission but also our duty.
The 250 Educational Objectives will be mailed to all Academy members in a few weeks.
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