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November 1988

Science Education in the Preclinical Curriculum

Arch Intern Med. 1988;148(11):2508-2509. doi:10.1001/archinte.1988.00380110136031

To the Editor.  — I agree with Alpert and Coles1 that physicians often have an excessively narrow education and that they could benefit from more exposure to the humanities. However, this is best supplied as part of premedical liberal arts education. The two preclinical years are the only opportunity to instill the basic scientific knowledge at the heart of medical practice. The poverty of preclinical education results from too little attention to science rather than too much.Much of my medical school experience was rote memorization. Laboratories and discussions of research papers had been largely eliminated, removing the students from direct exposure to the material. This appears to be a general trend. As a result, one finds that many students do not even go to class, relying on a transcription service to produce lecture notes that identify the material to be memorized. The preclinical curriculum is thus demoralizing for