Despite having similar traits and a shared mission, medical schools in the U.S. differ from one other through their exact lessons and extracurriculars. So: Should medical education be standardized? Would this improve doctors' skills and save money, or quash creativity and regional identity?
First, its benefits:
One is that when you have many schools coming together and discussing the foundational and core principles for medical education in North America the likelihood is that that wisdom of a crowd—as opposed to the wisdom of a single school—will get closer to what is right because it taps into the thinking of many people as opposed to a limited number of people.
The second is that the students are mobile after they finish medical school... Providing students with a solid academic foundation that is transportable across all of the different places they may end up serves them better.
The third reason that a common curriculum would be beneficial is test preparation for students... We should not be teaching to the test, but rather agreeing upon the knowledge that is core and foundational and then designing programs around the material that should be tested.
In Prober's mind, a common curriculum would allow each school to maintain its individual strengths — such as Stanford's focus on research — while preparing students for a shared job market.
It remains unknown just how likely it is that a common core could be adopted in coming years:
The first step is to see if this concept has traction amongst the wider medical education community because obviously if one doesn’t have a lot of partners in the development of a common core it won’t go anywhere.
First of all, we must agree upon the basic principle and then there has to be a convening of individuals from a broad range of schools and environments to work on what that common core should look like.
Intrigued? Check out the rest of Prober's interview, where he explains a pilot effort to introduce standards in microbiology and infectious disease.
Previously: Integrating digital literacy into medical education, "How might we..." redesign medical education? and Inaugural Medicine X|ED event kicks off with a call to redefine medical education
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