[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
April 13, 1970

Relevance in Medical Education

Author Affiliations

Birmingham, Ala

JAMA. 1970;212(2):314. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170150068014

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


The fallacy of current practices in medical education becomes clearer when we consider their relevance. In essence, students have been saying to us for years, "I am going to Loachapoka [a small town in southeast Alabama] to practice, I want to know how to treat patients. Skip the useless learning and tell me how to solve patient problems. To me, what helps me to serve the patient is relevant."

When we examine what we have taught and expected students to learn, we find that any of this factual and conceptual information which is valid is potentially useful in solving some patient's problem. For example, the body of information about the cardiac cycle is useful in solving certain types of problems. But after learning this in the first year, satisfactorily regurgitating it on the final physiology examination, and going over the material again in the second year, many students in their