Medical Humanities Role in Medical Education

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Abstract

Twentieth Century medical education has stressed the basic sciences to the neglect of the humanities. The intent of this commentary is to explore the humanities' role and contribution to the professional formation of the physician. A major change on the United States' medical school admission exam starting in 2015 is a move away from its current focus on natural sciences and begins to incorporate a wider breath of liberal studies and social sciences. The ideal 21st Century physician is a more well rounded person who can interact on a deeper level with patients and not by a narrow spectrum of intellectual interests. The 21st Century curriculum has a unique opportunity to reflect and build upon professional values and attributes informed by the humanities, particularly as the latter relate to the role of the physician in society. It is important to be creative in constructing opportunities for humanities learning experiences and resources within the scope and structure of the curriculum. It is necessary to think in more innovative ways as to the experiential learning environment that targets professional formation, and for a more broadly and humanly educated physician.

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