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Contributions of 15 ASPET DPE Members to the International Collaborative Core Concepts Project in Pharmacology Education: Reflections and Opportunities for ASPET

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Clare GuildingORCiD


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Introduction: For pharmacology educators worldwide it can be challenging to curate the vast amount of pharmacology information that exists. Recently it was recognized that pharmacology, unlike other disciplines, lacks core concepts. Core concepts are big ideas that are essential to understand and practice a discipline, the mastery of which results in enduring understanding and ability to address novel problems across that discipline. Therefore, between 2021 and 2022, 15 ASPET Division of Pharmacology Education (DPE) members participated in a collaborative effort led by a team of international leaders in pharmacology education to develop the Core Concepts for Pharmacology Education. The goal of this abstract is to share the process and camaraderie that resulted from this global project.Methods: A forum on ASPET Connect and an officer on the ASPET DPE Executive Committee (EC) recruited ASPET members interested in participating in an international expert group to develop, in two sequential phases (Fig.1), worldwide pharmacology education core concepts. During an exploratory phase, global research project leaders from the United Kingdom, Australia, and United States (including an officer from the ASPET DPE EC) utilized a large-scale survey approach. Working asynchronously, using Excel, core concepts were generated by soliciting key pharmacology terms provided by several hundred expert educators and combining those with terms identified through text mining key pharmacology textbooks. During a refinement phase with the aid of Google Docs, participants revised and offered feedback to support or oppose potential core concepts and engage in dialogue. Virtual meetings via Zoom, often duplicate ones to accommodate participants in different time zones, further facilitated the process and collaboration. In July 2022, participants were able to meet in person, with other members of the team joining remotely to finalize the core concepts and develop consensus about their definitions. A manuscript was drafted and circulated to project members.Results: The Pharmacology Education Core Concepts project was successfully executed with video meetings and other collaboration tools such as Google Docs, the cloud and email, to develop a consensus on definitions based on the expert input from over 200 pharmacology educators across the globe. Using the Delphi method and analysis by a research team consisting of leaders from international professional pharmacology education organizations, including ASPET, 25 core concepts were developed. This project demonstrated that participants from different countries can effectively collaborate. Those involved, after establishing core concepts, went on to generate sub-concepts and definitions.Conclusions: Collaborative international efforts can be expensive, time consuming, and travel can be logistically challenging with limited input. The successful Core Concept project represents effective use of virtual technology to promote global collaboration. The strategy developed and disseminated products will aid pharmacology educators worldwide as they design and/or curate pharmacology information to provide the essential foundational pharmacology content for their students. This process serves as an efficient model, with a low carbon footprint, for future global collaborations with a lower cost.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gorman L, Hernandez M, Karpa K, Restini C, Caetano Crowley F, Goldfarb J, Guilding C, White PJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

Year: 2023

Volume: 385

Issue: S3 392

Print publication date: 20/06/2023

Acceptance date: 18/05/2023

ISSN (print): 0022-3565

ISSN (electronic): 1521-0103

Publisher: The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics


DOI: 10.1124/jpet.122.205850


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