Identifying the core concepts of pharmacology education: A global initiative

Paul J. White, Clare Guilding, Tom Angelo, John P. Kelly, Laurel Gorman, Steven J. Tucker, Ashleigh Fun, Jae Han, Guanliang Chen, Yassmin Samak, Anna Marie Babey, Fabiana A. Caetano, Sudhir Chandra Sarangi, Jennifer Koenig, Haiping Hao, Joseph Goldfarb, Kelly Karpa, Luciene Vieira, Carolina Restini, Margaret CunninghamPatrik Aronsson, Roisin Kelly-Laubscher, Mark Hernandez, Patangi K. Rangachari, Janet Mifsud, Fatima Mraiche, Ramzi Sabra, Octavio Piñeros, Xuechu Zhen, Helen Kwanashie, Betty Exintaris, Nilushi Karunaratne, Kuniaki Ishii, Yannee Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: In recent decades, a focus on the most critical and fundamental concepts has proven highly advantageous to students and educators in many science disciplines. Pharmacology, unlike microbiology, biochemistry, or physiology, lacks a consensus list of such core concepts. Experimental Approach: We sought to develop a research-based, globally relevant list of core concepts that all students completing a foundational pharmacology course should master. This two-part project consisted of exploratory and refinement phases. The exploratory phase involved empirical data mining of the introductory sections of five key textbooks, in parallel with an online survey of over 200 pharmacology educators from 17 countries across six continents. The refinement phase involved three Delphi rounds involving 24 experts from 15 countries across six continents. Key Results: The exploratory phase resulted in a consolidated list of 74 candidate core concepts. In the refinement phase, the expert group produced a consensus list of 25 core concepts of pharmacology. Conclusion and Implications: This list will allow pharmacology educators everywhere to focus their efforts on the conceptual knowledge perceived to matter most by experts within the discipline. Next steps for this project include defining and unpacking each core concept and developing resources to help pharmacology educators globally teach and assess these concepts within their educational contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1197-1209
Number of pages13
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 2023


  • Delphi method
  • core concepts
  • discipline-based educational research
  • global education
  • pharmacology education
  • postgraduate
  • text mining
  • undergraduate


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