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January 14, 1983

VII. The Painfully Slow Progress in Medical Education

JAMA. 1983;249(2):270-274. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330260080041

In 1847 the American Medical Association had already described some of the defects in the American medical scene, particularly in medical education. The convention had three major areas of complaint: the preliminary education of those who wanted to study medicine, the actual courses of instruction at the medical schools, and the examinations to be taken before the medical student could join the ranks of active practitioners.

Today, we may observe parenthetically, the same three areas are still the subject of debate: What is the best preliminary education for those intending to study medicine? How can the curriculum be improved? What system of examination will best ensure competence? Today's answers, still in flux, show a lineal connection with the same problem areas of the 19th century.

In its initial organization, the AMA wisely established several standing committees to provide better means for studying some major problems. The committee on education has