Back to the future

We frequently hear humanism in medicine discussed as though it’s a new trend in medical education. Yet back in 1986 (before many of today’s medical students were even born – yes, really) an “Education Watch” from the Times called attention to this new element of medical education.

A recent survey by the Association of American Medical Colleges showed that 112 of the country’s 126 four-year medical schools now require students to take courses in doctor-patient relationships, communication skills and cultural, social and ethical issues. ”If we had done the survey in 1970, we would have found none of these kinds of courses,” said Dr. August Swanson, the association’s director of education.

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