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December 10, 1982

VI. Medical Education: The AMA Surveys the Problems

Author Affiliations

From the Morris Fishbein Center, University of Chicago.

JAMA. 1982;248(22):3017-3021. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330220059041

When the National Medical Convention met in 1846, a major concern was the low state of medical education. "We believe from the complaints which spring from almost every quarter, that lamentable deficiencies do exist, and that these deficiencies should be corrected."1 The convention then adopted the time-honored mode of appointing committees to analyze specific aspects and make recommendations. To understand the proffered comments and recommendations, we must have a broad view of the problems and of the way these developed.

The National Medical Association—to become the American Medical Association the following year—came into existence during a transitional period in American culture. Old modes of medical education, adequate for an earlier period, could no longer adapt satisfactorily to changing needs. The older apprentice training had to be replaced by something better, but new procedures would develop slowly and painfully, inevitably with many false turnings.

In, say, 1800, the ideal apprenticeship