Design and Evaluation of a Curriculum on Intimate Partner Violence for Medical Students in an Emergency Medicine Clerkship

Author Department

Emergency Medicine

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date



Purpose: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a widespread public health issue that is relevant to all areas of medicine. Patients who suffer from IPV often contact the health care system via the emergency department, making this a particularly important but too often overlooked issue in this setting. Education on IPV varies in medical schools and emergency medicine (EM) educational programs, and evidence suggests that a barrier to assessing for IPV is a lack of adequate training of clinicians. In this study, we sought to design, implement and evaluate the efficacy of a curriculum on IPV geared towards medical students on an EM clerkship.

Methods: We assembled a multi-disciplinary team of EM education faculty, a resident content expert on IPV, and social workers to design a two-part curriculum that was administered to medical students on an EM clerkship. The curriculum involved a 20-minute narrated slide presentation viewed asynchronously, followed by a 1-hour case-based discussion session. The curriculum was evaluated using a 13-item self-assessment survey on knowledge, comfort level and skill in managing victims of IPV, administered electronically before and after the curriculum. Survey results were compared pre- and post-curriculum using Wilcoxon signed-rank test.

Results: Thirty-four students completed the curriculum and 26 completed both the pre and post self-assessment surveys. A statistically significant improvement in knowledge, comfort level and skills was observed in 11 of the 13 survey elements.

Conclusion: Based on the self-assessment survey results, this curriculum was well received and successfully increased participants' comfort, knowledge and skill level regarding assessment of patients for IPV. This is a focused and feasible curriculum that can be easily incorporated into an EM clerkship to provide effective education on a relevant but often overlooked topic.

Keywords: domestic violence; interpersonal violence; intimate partner violence; undergraduate medical education.