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July 13, 1979

Medical Education

Author Affiliations

State of Illinois Department of Health Springfield

JAMA. 1979;242(2):141-142. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03300020015012

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To the Editor.—  In his editorial lament, "Medical Education" (241:1040, 1979), John P. Callan, MD, touched on a problem of great interest to me. His solution, broadening the scope of continuing medical education courses to include arts and humanities, is a classic example of retrofitting rather than attacking a problem at its source.Most medical school catalogs include a statement that undergraduate applicants are encouraged to pursue majors that are of interest to them— that "premed" should not be construed as a major. That is stated policy. The reality is that medical school admissions committees are systematically biased against non-science majors, presumably because performance in such disciplines is not as susceptible to quantification as is performance in organic chemistry, for example, or because such disciplines are apparently "easier" than the sciences. Thus, persons who have not been science majors are asked when they are interviewed by admissions committees, "Why did