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September 2, 1992

Educational Programs in US Medical Schools

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Undergraduate Medical Education (Drs Jonas and Barzansky) and the Department of Information Analysis and Publication (Ms Etzel), American Medical Association, Chicago, III.

JAMA. 1992;268(9):1083-1090. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490090025009

IN recent years a variety of sources— government, foundations, educators, the media, and, perhaps most importantly, those who use medical care—have begun to focus on what is required to produce a good physician. The authors' prediction in last year's article1 on undergraduate medical education that the 1990s would be the "decade of accountability" is on its way to fulfillment. Both internal and external forces are encouraging schools of medicine to alter their curricula and even their basic structure. Accrediting bodies have imposed new standards that call for measuring and evaluating medical school graduates according to a variety of educational outcomes. Funding, in a few instances, has been coupled to the attainment of mandated outcome objectives.

With these pressures for change, medical educators are asking just how much change is appropriate and necessary and whether such changes will indeed better prepare future physicians for practice in the 21st century. Medical