An Online, Multi-Institutional APPE Student Debate on Diabetes Medications

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The purpose of this study was to evaluate change in APPE student knowledge and measure student perceptions of an online, multi-institutional debate curriculum as an alternative to a journal club to improve critical thinking skills related to diabetes medications. All APPE students assigned to four faculty (n=37) at three different colleges during the 2020-2021 academic year received instruction on diabetes medication classes and their cardiovascular outcome trials (CVOTs). Students debated via the Lincoln-Douglas format whether glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs) or sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors (SGLT2i) classes are the preferred second-line therapies in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Matched pre and post-knowledge scores were measured using a 7-item assessment tool. A postdebate 22-item survey measured student perceptions of the activity. Pre- and post-knowledge scores were compared in thirty-two students yielding an 86% match rate. Knowledge scores improved 32% (59% pre vs. 87% post). Thirty-three students completed the survey yielding an 89% response rate. Students reported the debate activity was beneficial (100%) and rated it more effective than a journal club at improving critical thinking skills and knowledge retention. Preliminary results suggest the incorporation of an online, multi-institutional debate as an alternative to journal clubs during APPE rotations was well received. Further research is warranted on the impact of the multi-institutional debate and how to best deliver it during the APPEs of a pharmacy curriculum.