New report highlights role of social sciences in medical education

Medical schools need to incorporate the behavioral and social sciences’ unique insight on health issues, according to a new report by the Association of American Medical Colleges

The Association of American Medical Colleges offers guidance for medical educators in selecting behavioral and social sciences for their curricula in its new report, Behavioral and Social Science Foundations for Future Physicians (PDF, 1.6MB). Behavioral and social factors such as smoking, diet, exercise and socioeconomic status account for more than 50 percent of premature disease and death in the United States, says the report.

Physicians can now easily incorporate findings from psychology, epidemiology, political science or other similar disciplines when caring for patients. “In addition to medical knowledge, a well-rounded physician must understand the cultural, familial, economic, and demographic factors that affect health and disease,” said AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD.