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December 13, 2010

Assessing the Status of Ophthalmic Education 100 Years After the Flexner Report

Arch Ophthalmol. 2010;128(12):1600-1601. doi:10.1001/archophthalmol.2010.280

This year marks the 100th anniversary of one of the most influential reports in medical education.1 A former high school teacher and a student of the classics, Abraham Flexner visited 155 medical schools in the United States and Canada and assessed the quality of education, making comparisons primarily with university-based programs in Germany. He discovered a significant variation in pedagogy and setting ranging from students apprenticing with local physicians, to groups of students attending lectures delivered by practitioners who owned their own schools, to students exposed to both lectures and clinical experiences in university-affiliated programs. Flexner searched for curricula that stressed analytical thinking and clinical experience grounded in science. What he found instead was far from it, in most instances; thus, it is no surprise that following his report in 1910, 80 schools closed their doors.2-4

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