Medical Education

During the 17- 18th century western society was served by various healers, tradesmen who sold medications, craftsmen who did surgery and physicians, a very small group educated in UK and European universities. [Ref – History of Medicine]

In 1904 the American Medical Association (AMA) created the Council on Medical Education (CME) whose objective was to restructure American medical education. At its first annual meeting, the CME adopted two standards: one laid down the minimum prior education required for admission to a medical school, the other defined a medical education as consisting of two years training in human anatomy and physiology followed by two years of clinical work in a teaching hospital.[Ref]

Generally speaking, the council strove to improve the quality of medical students, looking to draw from the society of upperclass, educated students. In 1908, the CME asked the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching to survey American medical education, so as to promote the CME’s reformist agenda and hasten the elimination of medical schools that failed to meet the CME’s standards. The president of the Carnegie Foundation, Henry Pritchett, a staunch advocate of medical school reform, chose Abraham Flexner to conduct the survey. Flexner was not a physician, scientist, or a medical educator, although he held a bachelor of arts degree and operated a for-profit school in Louisville, Kentucky.[4]

The Flexner Report is a book-length study of medical education in the United States and Canada, written by Abraham Flexnerand published in 1910 under the aegis of the Carnegie Foundation. Many aspects of the present-day American medical profession stem from the Flexner Report and its aftermath. [Ref].

The opening chapter below gives an insight to the existing situation of training a medical practitioner in the USA.

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