What Should We Change About Medical Education?

Sep 21, 2011, 3:15 PM, Posted by mtomlinson

White Coat Notes, a blog of the Boston Globe, last week looked at two recent reports calling for changes in physician training.

Leaders at the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Care in Boston published a report in the September issue of Health Affairs calling for medical education to include more training in empathy and responding to patients’ emotions. These skills are taught early on in medical school, they say, but not sufficiently reinforced.

The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation has also called for changes to medical education, and released a list of proposed reforms at a conference last May. George E. Thibault, MD, president of the Foundation, spoke to White Coat Notes about those recommendations.

“It’s increasingly clear that we’re not necessarily matching our training with changing demographics and a changing health care delivery system,” he said.

Among the proposals from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation: Expand training sites to non-hospital settings; expand the topics of medical education to include preventive care, aging, and the socioeconomic determinants of health; make medical education interdisciplinary; and make graduate medical education more accountable to the public good.

Read an RWJF Human Capital blog post by George Thibault about interprofessional education.

What do you think? Do you agree with the recommendations in these reports? Are there other areas of medical education that need to change to keep up with changes in our health care system? Register below to leave a comment.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.