What we talk about when we talk with medical students

Michael J. Joyner, Nisha Charkoudian, Timothy B. Curry, John H. Eisenach, Erica A. Wehrwein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In this article, we review how we interact with medical students in our efforts to teach blood pressure regulation and systemic cardiovascular control along with related elements of respiratory and exercise physiology. Rather than provide a detailed lecture with key facts, we attempted to outline our approach to teaching integrative cardiovascular physiology to medical students, which includes five major themes. First, focus on questions versus answers and facts. We believe that this offers both the learner and teacher a number of advantages. Second, avoid teaching dogma in the name of clarity (i.e., heavy focus on teaching "facts" that have not yet been fully investigated). This is especially important because of the way knowledge evolves over time. Third, include laboratory-based experiences in human integrative physiology. Fourth, provide students with intellectual frameworks versus a list of "facts" to serve as a platform for question generation. Finally, focus on the role of integration and regulatory redundancy in physiology and the idea that physiology is a narrative that can help. In this article, we discuss the philosophy behind the themes outlined above and argue that questions, and not answers, are where the action is for both research and education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-21
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Advances in Physiology Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Education
  • Learning
  • Physiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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