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November 15, 1965

Continuing Medical Education

JAMA. 1965;194(7):790-793. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090200098020

In his report, Postgraduate Medical Education in the United States,1 published in 1955, Vollan described five ways in which physicians continue their education: "(1) reading of medical books, monographs, periodicals, and the abundant literature that every physician receives from pharmaceutical firms; (2) individual professional contacts between the physician and his colleagues, consultants, pharmacists, and the representatives of pharmaceutical firms; (3) attendance at hospital meetings, such as staff meetings, clinicopathological and radiological conferences, and journal club meetings; (4) attendance at national, state, and local general or special medical society meetings; and (5) attendance at formal postgraduate courses."

Reading of books and scientific journals was regarded by physicians as the most important of these, and there is little doubt that it would still be considered most important today. Attendance at formal postgraduate courses ranked second.

The number and quality of postgraduate courses has improved markedly since 1955, and much more detailed