Doctors need improvement in allergy education – globally

Allergy has increased globally to such an extent that between 20 to 30% of the world’s population suffer from some form of allergic disease with considerable and continuing increases in prevalence over the last three decades. This statement was from opinion leading doctors from the World Allergy Organization. The allergists expressed concern that the majority of patients with common allergic disease are treated in primary care by physicians with little current knowledge of the basic skills in the science and practice of allergy.

To improve the situation the opinion leaders are calling for all medical students (studying for general practice) to complete a competency course on the recognition, mechanisms and treatment of allergy before leaving medical school. The course would included basic science and clinical allergy training with formal lectures, clinical tutorials, ward rounds, case studies, clinical attendance, clinico-pathology conferences and the knowledge of common regional allergy triggers such as from house dust mites, pollens, cats, dogs, moulds, insect/venoms, food, drugs, indoor and outdoor pollutants. Their call ended with this advice; “Teaching allergy as part of systematic undergraduate training and as problem solving around cases, are not mutually exclusive and can be combined. Each country can attempt to include the essential topics into existing curricula in different medical school training programs.”

To further promote their call the allergists have created and published broad guidelines for a curriculum of education and training of medical students. These can be read in J. Invest. Allergol. Clin, Immunol. 2010; Vol. 20,(3):179-184.

References

‘Recommendations for Competency in Allergy Training for Undergraduates Qualifying as Medical Practitioners: A Position Paper of the World Allergy Organization’, Potter PC, Warner JO, Pawandar R, Kaliner MA, Del Giacco S, Rosenwasser L, on behalf of the WAO Specialty and Training Council, ‘J. Investig. Allergol. Clin. Immunol’. 2010 Vol. 20(3):179-184