Association of American Medical Colleges Highlights Need for SBS Sciences in Medical Education

January 17, 2012

by Paula Skedsvold

In a recently released report, Behavioral and Social Science Foundations for Future Physicians, the Association of American Medical Colleges states that “a complete medical education must include, alongside physical and biological science, the perspectives and findings that flow from the behavioral and social sciences.” The AAMC represents all 136 accredited U.S. medical schools, 17 accredited Canadian medical schools, almost 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, and nearly 90 academic and scientific societies.

“Understanding how lifestyle, behavior, and economic status affect health, and applying this knowledge to medical practice is vital for future physicians,” states an AAMC press release.  The goal of this training, according to the report, “is to equip medical trainees with the behavioral and social science-derived knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to practice medicine effectively.” The report provides tools and strategies for the medical education community that can help guide student learning, but can also “enrich clinician decision-making and physician-patient interactions.” 

Behavioral and Social Science Foundations for Future Physicians adopts and builds on findings from two reports, the Institute of Medicine’sEnhancing the Social and Behavioral Science Content of Medical School Curricula (2004) and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada’s The CanMEDS 2005 Physician Competency Framework. It is also a companion to an earlier AAMC and Howard Hughes Medical Institute report that recommended competencies in biological, physical, genetic, molecular, and mathematical sciences. 

Read the Behavioral and Social Science Foundations for Future Physicians report»