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November 25, 1998

Encouraging Lifelong Professional Development Across the Medical Education ContinuumCall for Papers in Medical Education

Author Affiliations

Ms Breedlove is Associate Editor, JAMA, and Dr Hedrick is Director, Division of Medical Education Products, American Medical Association.

JAMA. 1998;280(20):1786. doi:10.1001/jama.280.20.1786

The medical education community is currently reexamining the aims, ideals, responsibilities, and content of the whole of medical education in an effort to orient training toward that which will best serve patients in a society that is increasingly pluralistic and respectful of patient autonomy. Lifelong professional development—always a stated goal of physician training—has become an imperative as physicians adapt to changing expectations in every sphere.

Physicians are generally expected to be informed about changes in their own practice area; increasingly, they will be judged by their ability to access an array of timely medical information and patient-appropriate diagnoses and treatments.15 In addition to being able to locate and quickly select pertinent evidence-based information, physicians will be expected to practice patient-appropriate care that emphasizes "cultural competence," the ability to improve patient outcomes by overcoming language and cultural barriers, and also by understanding the ways in which belief systems, including spiritual practices, are critical to the patient's healing process.6

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