Research: SCHENK and colleagues, De

Listed in Issue 25

Abstract

SCHENK and colleagues, Department of Family medicine, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan USA write that although The Institute of Medicine has recommended basic clinical competence in Environmental Medicine (EM) for all physicians, the amount and content of such instruction in EM currently offered in US medical schools in unknown.

Background

Methodology

The authors conducted a cross-sectional study based upon responses to a questionnaire, mailed in June 1994 concerning the EM curriculum content in US medical schools, in Association of American Medical colleges curriculum survey.

Results

119 out of 126 schools (94%) responded. Of these 29 (24%) reported no required EM curriculum content . Those schools with EM content averaged 7 hours of instruction. 81 schools (68%) had faculty with environmental and occupational medicine expertise, primarily within departments of medicine, preventive, and family medicine.

Conclusion

In order for medical students to acquire the knowledge and skills to prevent, diagnose and treat health problems with an environmental exposure component, there is a need for increased EM instruction within medical school curricula . In those schools with EM content in their curriculum, the required expertise to develop EM curriculum may be available within existing faculty.

References

Schenk M et al. Environmental medicine content in medical school curricula. Acad Med 71(5): 499-501. May 1996.

Comment

I sincerely hope that the Institute of Medicine also decrees in the very near future that physicians ought to acquire clinical competence in Nutritional Medicine, a vitally important subject which is similarly not provided for in medical school curricula in the USA nor in the UK.

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