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September 19, 1966

Medical Education Research and Development: An Institutional Program

Author Affiliations

From the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago.

JAMA. 1966;197(12):992-995. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110120098023

Let me begin with a text, drawn from a 16th century work of Niccolo Machiavelli: "There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle than to initiate a new order of things."

Educational research in medicine is a new order of things, formally initiated almost simultaneously by three medical schools in the late 1950's. With the passage of years and the appearance of a hard core of workers in the field, the glamor of the enterprise is fast disappearing, but the mystery of what these workers really do is still widespread. My task is not to restore glamour; it is rather to dispel some of the misunderstanding that abounds among those who occupy more conventional seats in the educational hierarchy of medicine, and who sometimes wonder what all the fuss is about.

Historical perspective is often useful in elucidating contemporary issues,