A Comprehensive Survey of Infectious Diseases Curriculum Among US Pharmacy Schools

Meghan N. Jeffres, PharmD; Wesley D. Kufel, PharmD; Lauren R. Biehle, PharmD; Jonathan C. Cho, PharmD; Navaneeth Narayanan, PharmD; Katherine Gruenberg, PharmD; Joshua Garcia, PharmD; Conan MacDougall, MAS


Am J Pharm Educ. 2019;83(9):7168 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Objective: To describe what and how infectious diseases (ID) topics are taught in US schools of pharmacy and summarize pharmacy faculty members' and students' perceived successes and challenges in teaching and learning about ID.

Methods: A 23-item survey instrument was distributed electronically to ID faculty members at 137 US pharmacy schools. Data collected included curricular hours and format, topics covered, active-learning strategies, and curricular successes and concerns.

Results: Surveys were collected from 106 schools (77% response rate). Infectious diseases curricula were allotted a median of 60 (IQR=40) hours of classroom time. Respondents dedicated 33% of curriculum hours to ID fundamentals and 66% to disease states. Greater than 94% of schools taught all tier one ID topics from the 2016 American College of Clinical Pharmacy Pharmacotherapy Didactic Curriculum Toolkit. Curricula were primarily delivered through traditional lectures rather than active learning (75% vs 25% of classroom time, respectively). The median number of active-learning strategies used was four (IQR=3). The most common active-learning modalities used either consistently or frequently were patient case application (98%) and audience response systems (76%). The most common successes cited by faculty members were implementation of active learning, the "real-world" applicability of the ID topics, and the breadth of topics and topic exposure covered in the curriculum. The most common concerns were a lack of time to cover material and the amount of material covered.

Conclusion: Increased communication and collaboration between ID educators is warranted to increase consistency of ID education and distribution of educational innovations.


Inappropriate use of antimicrobials and antimicrobial resistance is a global threat.[1] As pharmacists are the gatekeepers of prescription antimicrobials, all pharmacy students should receive enough infectious diseases (ID) education to be practical antimicrobial stewards.[2] While most attention about antimicrobial stewardship has focused on the inpatient setting because of the recent Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) antimicrobial stewardship standard,[3] pharmacists have the potential to be antimicrobial stewards in a variety of practice settings.[4,5] Because of the shortage of postgraduate year two (PGY2) pharmacy residency programs in ID available,[6] the primary source of ID knowledge will occur within the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program.

Education in pharmacotherapy for general IDs is required in the PharmD curriculum by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE),[7] yet there is no specific criteria on the topics that must be covered or the educational methods that should be used. The 2016 American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) Pharmacotherapy Didactic Curriculum Toolkit provides a list of ID topics recommended to be included in the PharmD curriculum.[8] The Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) Preclinical Curriculum Committee recommends the use of active learning to stimulate student participation, collaborative learning, and communication with the instructor.[9]

The objective of this study was to describe the topics delivered and the pedagogical strategies used in the teaching of ID curricula to PharmD students in US pharmacy schools. We also aimed to summarize the perceived successes and challenges of faculty members and students in the teaching and learning of ID, respectively.