Objective: The objectives of the present formative research were to explore the medical undergraduates’ study problems and their perceptions about various teaching approaches in currently practiced teaching curriculum of Community Medicine. Material and Methods: The present formative research was undertaken at Dr. Sushila Nayar School of Public Health incorporating Department of Community Medicine, Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Sewagram. The respondents were 17 (26.5%) conveniently selected final year exam appearing medical undergraduates from 2004 regular batch of 64 students. A triangulation of qualitative research methods like free listing, pile sort exercise and a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) were used. A two dimensional scaling and hierarchical cluster analysis was completed with the pile sort data. The data was analyzed by using software Anthropac 4.98.1/X software. Results: The medical undergraduates could understand the topics like Integrated Management of Neonatal and Childhood (IMNCI), Primary Health Care (PHC), cold chain system for vaccines, immunization and health education, dietary survey and cluster survey method taught in the community based camp approaches. Students found it difficult to comprehend the core of subject from the scattered lecture series over a long teaching period, especially using lengthy over head projector/liquid crystal display presentations. The major problems encountered in studying the subject of Community Medicine were difficulty in understanding the concepts of biostatistics, confusions due to apparently similar text in National Health Programs and difficulty to recall disease statistics due to vast syllabus. Conclusions: Students perceived the community based camp approach of teaching as a best method to understand the subject, which is an integration of task oriented assignments, integration of social sciences within medical domain and active community involvement. Hence, the community based camp approach can be scaled up as a best Community Medicine teaching approach. The active learning methods could be used to improve the lectures and the clinics which should be more concentrated in final year of teachin
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