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August 16, 1965

Sciences of Emerging Importance to MedicineToward a Liberal Medical Education

JAMA. 1965;193(7):589-591. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090070039012

The title originally assigned for this presentation —"Sciences of Emerging Importance to Medicine"—has an interesting built-in ambiguity. For those sciences which are yet to emerge as important must remain unknown, except to those who are clairvoyant.

I wish to use this ambiguity as an excuse for broadening the title, and the substance, of this presentation. I do so with the feeling that a mere listing of various sciences which we all accept as having relevance for medicine would be a sterile exercise. By now, we have all heard numerous advocates of the teaching of more mathematics, physics, biochemistry, biology, and behavioral sciences to medical students or prospective medical students. Such advocacy often leads to exhortation, and a hortative approach to readers of this sophistication would be comparable to preaching against sin to the virtuous.

What I would prefer to attempt, therefore, is to deal with the problem of institutional forms

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