Pharmacology education currently lacks a research-based consensus on
which core concepts all graduates should know and understand, as well as
a valid and reliable means to assess core conceptual learning. The Core
Concepts in Pharmacology Expert Group (CC-PEG) from Australia and New
Zealand recently identified a set of core concepts of pharmacology
education as a first step toward developing a concept inventory—a valid
and reliable tool to assess learner attainment of concepts. In the
current study, CC-PEG used established methodologies to define each
concept and then unpack its key components. Expert working groups of
three to seven educators were formed to unpack concepts within specific
conceptual groupings: what the body does to the drug (pharmacokinetics); what the drug does to the body (pharmacodynamics); and system integration and modification of drug–response.
First, a one-sentence definition was developed for each core concept.
Next, sub-concepts were established for each core concept. These twenty
core concepts, along with their respective definitions and sub-concepts,
can provide pharmacology educators with a resource to guide the
development of new curricula and the evaluation of existing curricula.
The unpacking and articulation of these core concepts will also inform
the development of a pharmacology concept inventory. We anticipate that
these resources will advance further collaboration across the
international pharmacology education community to improve curricula,
teaching, assessment, and learning.