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Book and Media Reviews
September 7, 2011

Questioning the Premedical Paradigm: Enhancing Diversity in the Medical Profession a Century After the Flexner Report

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Respiratory Diseases, Children's Hospital Boston; and Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts (dennis.rosen@childrens.harvard.edu).

JAMA. 2011;306(9):1001. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1267

What is the purpose of undergraduate premedical studies? How can this purpose best be achieved? These deceptively simple questions have been the focus of ongoing and often heated debate for more than a century within the medical and the educational establishments.

In Questioning the Premedical Paradigm, Donald Barr, associate professor of medicine and sociology at Stanford University, explains why the standard premedical curriculum is so heavily weighted toward the basic sciences; investigates whether or not this has, in fact, achieved what was intended; examines some of the unintended consequences resulting from its adoption; and cogently presents what he feels the goals of premedical education ought to be and how they can be reached.