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​​What is Best Evidence in Medical Education (BEME)?

And how does it integrate into my teaching and educational leadership?

By Janet Corral, PhD, and Eva Aagaard, MD

Best Evidence Medical Education (BEME) consists of reviews of the health professions education literature on key topics, in order to inform educational practice and leadership. BEME reviews are conducted by voluntary teams of medical education scholars from around the world. When the nonprofit BEME board receives a topic proposal, the board ensures the ability of the voluntary team members to complete an effective review by assessing the team members and the proposed review process. Once the proposal is accepted, the protocol is returned to the team to implement the review. See the 40 BEME reviews that have been published to date.​

How does BEME relate to my work as an educator and scholar?

BEME reviews provide evidence-based guidance related to teaching strategies and methods, curriculum design questions, assessment practices and curriculum/program evaluation. BEME reviews are an addition to the social science discipline knowledge that informs medical education practices.

Examples of BEME reviews that are directly helpful to educators and scholars:

Is team-based learning effective in medical schools?

What are effective methods to teach evidence-based medicine to medical students?

Can assessments in clinical rotations and experiences identify learners in need of remediation?

How should we design our simulation program or curriculum?


How does BEME relate to my work as an educational leader?

It relates to your work in two ways. First, as with educators and scholars, the BEME reviews provide direct reviews of the evidence with clear answers regarding many of the teaching and evaluation practices in medical education, as well as regarding student issues. In this regard, BEME reviews can be very helpful for committees: rather than having to conduct a literature review from scratch, committees can consider the analyzed results of the peer-reviewed literature to answer key questions.

Second, many BEME reviews have focused on systems-level topics, or topics relevant to administrative leaders. The results can be used to inform decision-making and program planning (or renewal). For example:

How are medical students’ career decisions formed?

BEME Guide 33

Should we invest in an audience response system?

BEME Guide 21

How are the relationships between medical education programs and communities perceived by stakeholders?

BEME Guide 35

Should admissions use the multiple mini-interview format, or a traditional method for selecting students?

BEME Guide 37

What contributes to effective faculty development?

BEME Guide 40


Can I do a BEME review?

Absolutely! The University of Colorado School of Medicine’s Academy of Medical Educators is one of the 19 international BEME collaboration sites. We peer review the protocols as well as participate in the BEME governance committees. There are multiple accepted forms of BEME review, including systematic review, realist synthesis review, effectiveness review, scoping review and definitional review. Each form engages a logical and explicit appraisal of available information to determine the best evidence relating to an issue in medical education.

BEME workshop coming soon

A workshop on conducting a BEME review will be offered this winter. Please see the Faculty Affairs workshop registration page in November for details.