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Comment & Response
September 8, 2020

Reconfiguring Medical Education

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, AdventHealth Orlando, Orlando, Florida
  • 2Department of Clinical Sciences, Florida State University College of Medicine, Longwood
JAMA. 2020;324(10):1007. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.10905

To the Editor Dr Emanuel1 predicted that basic science education could be completed almost entirely before medical school, which then would meld with residency as purely clinical entities.

We agree with Emanuel that parts of the medical curriculum could, and often do, use computer-based technologies to replace traditional lectures.2 However, virtual teaching has not proven superior to traditional methods because of varying student learning styles and preferences.3 Many medical schools integrate basic and clinical sciences throughout 4 years, with the idea that clinical relevance drives learning in both basic and clinical science.4 Regardless of the method of basic science education, the medical degree needs to remain a doctoral, not a technical or purely clinical, degree. Clinical education in medical school should be that amount that is more than sufficient to aid students’ selections of specialties and to prepare for residency. Physicians must possess a comprehensive understanding of basic science, integrated with clinical knowledge and experience. Improvements in clinical science are occurring at breakneck pace and are based on understanding basic science.