What you need to know about the new AAMC keywords list

You may have heard the AAMC has a new standardized keywords list for Curriculum Inventory (CI) reporting this year. With a new list to conquer you might have questions as you’re preparing for the CI Report: how to incorporate the list terms, where to find the new list, or how this may affect you if you’re already mapping to homegrown school-specific keywords list.

Is this new keywords list mandatory? 

No. Use of this standardized list is optional. However, it is recommended as a more effective way to tag curriculum content that allows for consistent terminology when looking at reports across institutions. The new AAMC keyword list has been kept high level at just under 100 terms. The list encompasses definitions, synonyms, and related terms for each keyword to remove confusion. 

Here’s an example from the list of the keywords for “acute care”, the definition, and any included or related terms with the keyword.

An example from the AAMC keywords list, focused on acute care and its definition and related terms.

Where can I find the new AAMC standardized keywords list?  

The full list is available on the AAMC website and you can download an .xlsx file version directly from the AAMC.

How does COVID-19 affect my keyword tagging?

There are new COVID keywords for you to use to tag across your curriculum where necessary. See below for the CI COVID keywords:

  1. COVID-19 Remote: Events which were previously not taught remotely/virtually but were changed to remote/virtual due to COVID. (It was advised by the AAMC to use this term last year and this year)
  2. COVID-19 Altered: Events that were changed in some way due to COVID, for example, having to change learning objectives, session content, scheduling, etc., due to COVID. (It was advised by the AAMC to use this term last year and this year)
  3. COVID-19 Added: Events that are new to the curriculum due to COVID, or events that were removed from last year’s curriculum due to COVID which now need to be inserted back into the curriculum. (AAMC has added this new keyword for this year)

Per the AAMC on COVID-specific terms: “Within your CI data file, you may have some events tagged with more than one COVID-related keyword, some events tagged with only one COVID-related keyword, and some events without any COVID-related keyword tags. Any events removed, delayed, and not present in the 2020-2021 curriculum due to COVID would not appear in your CI data file uploaded to the AAMC.”

What to do if your institution uses their own homegrown keywords list?

If your institution already has their own keywords list, it is advisable (although optional) to make the switch to the AAMC keyword list for consistent reporting. If your institution uses an extensive keywords list with hundreds of terms that make reporting across the keyword terminology challenging, this would be a great opportunity to review the new keywords list that the AAMC is recommending. The AAMC keywords list provides a proper definition along with synonyms and related terms for the keyword, which leaves much less room for creating duplicate keywords and terms. 

How to switch from your own keywords list to the new AAMC standard keywords list?  

If you’re looking to make the switch from a homegrown school-specific keywords list to the recommended AAMC keywords list, and you’re already working with us here at Acuity, we’d be happy to help you navigate the best ways to make the switch. We can also help you navigate how to maintain both lists if desired, to include the benchmarking advantages of the AAMC keywords list in the data.  

I hope this article will provide you with all the information you need to know about the new AAMC keywords list. If you want to learn more check out 5 essential steps for preparing for CIR