The scientific evidence for the impact of behavioral and social factors on health is substantial. Unfortunately, many physicians do not understand research findings in this area, their underlying principles and their medical impact.
From 2002 to 2004, the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine convened an expert committee to address several challenges that medical schools will face in attempting to incorporate the behavioral and social sciences into medical school curricula. The committee's report, entitled Improving Medical Education: Enhancing the Behavioral and Social Science Content of Medical School Curricula, is available online.
The Committee on Behavioral and Social Sciences in Medical School Curricula met five times between 2002 and 2003. Key questions addressed included:
The committee's activities included public meetings with medical schools and other organizations to explore and discuss relevant information regarding the status of the teaching of the behavioral and social sciences in medical schools. The committee also reviewed and considered information from the published literature, medical school websites and a variety of other sources.
The committee's final report—entitled Improving Medical Education: Enhancing the Behavioral and Social Science Content of Medical School Curricula—is available online. Key recommendations reported there include: