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April 19, 1976

It Takes Four Years: A Rebuttal

Author Affiliations

Springfield, Ill
From the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield.

JAMA. 1976;235(16):1701-1702. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260420017017

THE COMMENTARY by Hejna1 raises important questions for medical educators and particularly for those in schools that have regular or optional three-year curricula. Some of the issues raised, such as physician availability and maldistribution of medical care, are not educational in nature and require no discussion within this context. The concerns expressed regarding student stress, faculty fatigue, and the qualitative and quantitative aspects of curriculum content, however, merit further investigation and discussion. Since the last is the most significant issue, it will be addressed first.

The Three-Year Curriculum  We can all agree with Dr Hejna's conclusion that "the body of fundamental biomedical science continues to increase, and... the physician must understand with considerable depth both morphology and its function." One can disagree, however, with the conclusion that it is therefore "more difficult for the student to assimilate the expanding scientific material in a shortened period of time." The number of