RWJF Establishes Commission on Medical Education to Assess Medical School Curriculum and Recommend Changes

From 1989 to 1992, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission on Medical Education: The Sciences of Medical Practice (CME)—consisting of 12 national leaders in medical education from both the clinical and basic sciences—met eight times to develop a definition of the science requirements that are needed for graduation from medical school. These requirements could then serve as specifications for a medical school curriculum in the sciences basic to medicine.

The commission released its recommendations in a report that generated much controversy among basic scientists, officials at the NBME), Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) staff and program participants of the foundation's Preparing Physicians for the Future national program.

The project was part of the RWJF Preparing Physicians for the Future: A Program in Medical Education national program.

Key Recommendations

As reported in The Journal of the American Medical Association (1992), key recommendations included:

  • Schools of medicine must ensure that their educational programs integrate the sciences of medical practice through the entire course of study.
  • In addition to biological knowledge, physicians must have an understanding of the behavioral and social aspects of health and disease.
  • Medical schools must expand the contexts of training beyond tertiary-care hospitals to include, for example, ambulatory care settings, community hospitals, nursing homes and hospices.
  • In order to exercise their responsibility to assess the academic progress of students, medical school faculty must incorporate effective assessment procedures and techniques that are compatible with their educational goals.
  • To implement the recommendations stated above, every school must have an appropriate organizational authority whose leadership is respected and representative of the high level of faculty scholarship.