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Basic Biomedical Sciences and the Future of Medical Education: Implications for Internal Medicine


The academic model of medical education in the United States is facing substantial challenges. Apprenticeship experiences with clinical faculty are increasingly important in most medical schools and residency programs. This trend threatens to separate clinical education from the scientific foundations of medical practice. Paradoxically, this devaluation of biomedical science is occurring as the ability to use new discoveries to rationalize clinical decision making is rapidly expanding. Understanding the scientific foundations of medical practice and the ability to apply them in the care of patients separates the physician from other health care professionals. The de-emphasis of biomedical science in medical education poses particular dangers for the future of internal medicine as the satisfaction derived from the application of science to the solving of a clinical problem has been a central attraction of the specialty. Internists should be engaged in the ongoing discussions of medical education reform and provide a strong voice in support of rigorous scientific training for the profession.

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