PedsCases - A Learning Module for Evaluation of Suspected Child Abuse for Medical Students

Publication ID Published Volume
7911 May 5, 2010 6


PedsCases ( is a comprehensive web-based educational tool that focuses on the core objectives of undergraduate pediatric education with extensive student involvement. PedsCases was created for and by medical students that provides an opportunity for active self-directed learning in pediatrics. The learning modalities available include questions, flash-card type quizzes, multi-step clinical cases and podcasts.
This learning module includes 2 podcasts that review an approach to the evaluation of child abuse for medical students as well as the common and more serious causes of abuse. Subsequently, the two multi-step cases and 6 multiple choice questions highlight the importance of a high index of suspicion when evaluating pediatric injuries. In addition, the second case outlines a thorough algorithm for the evaluation of suspected child abuse.

PedsCases has been integrated into the third year undergraduate pediatric medical education curriculum at the University of Alberta. It is one of the main sources recommended to students to assist in covering the core objectives of the clinical pediatric rotation and to assist in preparing for the final examinations. Since the focus of medical education has shifted towards independent learning, PedsCases has become a complementary educational tool and has filled a niche.

The Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta and the Division of Studies of Medical Education has committed to PedsCases as a recommended reference for future medical students. Currently, there are 8 student question writers and 15 pediatrician moderators involved. The staff involvement ranges from moderating and reviewing questions, to writing and creating podcasts to filming procedural videos.

At the time of submission, PedsCases contains 216 questions, 23 cases, 11 flash-card type quizzes, 11 podcasts and 2 clinical videos. After 17 months, there have been 23,521 page views from 2,148 unique visitors in 73 different countries. PedsCases is one of the top 5 references returned by Internet search engines (including Google, and MSN) for the term "pediatric cases for medical students." PedsCases is posted as a recommended resource at the Canadian Healthcare Education Commons (CHEC), the PICUinfo Pediatric Critical Care Library, the Lincoln Memorial University Library website and the Distributed Medical Education Blog at Dalhousie University.


Kitney L, MacPherson P, Gill P, Dibden L, Lewis M. PedsCases - a learning module for evaluation of suspected child abuse for medical students. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2010;6:7911.

Educational Objectives

  1. To be able to develop an approach to evaluating a case of suspected child abuse.
  2. To be able to consider other differential diagnoses that may present similarly to child abuse.
  3. To be able to understand the appropriate investigations to complete when evaluating suspected child abuse.
  4. To be able to critically evaluate whether the story presented fits the patient's injuries.
  5. To be able to understand the role of the medical practitioner in child abuse cases.
  6. To be able to understand the significance of a negative physical exam for suspected child abuse.
  7. To be able to review the common risk factors for child abuse.
  8. To be able to understand the appropriate individuals/organizations to contact when child abuse is suspected


  • Podcast, PBL, PedsCases, Child Abuse, Family Violence

Prior Scholarly Dissemination


  1. Gill PJ, Kitney L, Vanderpluym J, Kozan D, Lewis M.(2009) PedsCases: A Collaborative Pediatric Medical Education Website for Medical Students. Poster presentation at Canadian Conference for Medical Education (CCME), poster number P-85. Edmonton, AB, Canada.
  2. Gill PJ, Kitney L, Vanderpluym J, Kozan D, Lewis M.(2008) PedsCases: A Collaborative Pediatric Medical Education Website for Medical Students. Poster presentation at Women and Children's Health Research Institute (WCHRI) Research Day 2008, abstract ID #1983, Edmonton, AB, Canada.

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ISSN 2374-8265