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Student JAMA
May 5, 2004

Medical Education in Modern China

JAMA. 2004;291(17):2141. doi:10.1001/jama.291.17.2141

Modern Chinese medical education has recently undergone 3 distinct periods of development—before, during, and after the 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution—driven largely by extra-academic political forces.

In 1965 in China, there were 298 secondary medical-pharmaceutical schools with a 3- to 4-year curriculum, which admitted students with a junior high (9-year) education; 92 medical-pharmaceutical universities, usually with a 5-year curriculum, which admitted students after high school; and 21 colleges of traditional Chinese medicine.1 The curriculum of the secondary medical schools at the time often included general education in language, literature, mathematics, and science, as well as specific vocational training in medicine. The medical university curriculum included 3 years of basic science lectures, 1 year of clinical didactics, and a 1-year practicum (similar to an internship year in the United States). University graduates were eligible to practice with no further training, whereas secondary school graduates were usually required to complete a practical internship first.2

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