In the last 50 years, increasing criticism of American medical education has centered on an overloaded curriculum, inadequate basic science-clinical integration, and limited commitment of the faculty to teach. Curriculum changes at a number of medical schools have not resulted in widespread reform. Our recently published study analyzed these complaints and offered suggestions for improvement.
The study (J.J. Smith et al., Advances in Physiology Education, 17:S36-46, 1997) states that the inadequate basic-clinical meshing not only persists in teaching but also is a serious problem in medical research training. We believe that basic science faculty--almost all Ph.D.s--are devoted and competent scientists who have been a key force behind what were probably the greatest advances in the history of medical science. However, in recent years, there has been a marked directional change from human and clinically oriented research to molecular biology. Although the enormous power of the molecular approach is...
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