The Flexner Reports’ importance and it’s implication on today’s medical schools cannot be understated. Prior to the report being completed and released, many medical schools had little in common with one another and did not provide the adequate training needed to produce well rounded and educated doctors. After the report was released in 1910, it took only until the 1920’s for major reform to occur. This new curriculum and its basic core are being used in today’s schools of medicine.
These basic changes to the curriculum were adapted for medical schools that were not forced to close due to the report. These changes included the separation of the sciences for first and second year students and third and fourth year students, a dedication to lecture based learning, independent courses taught in different departments and perhaps one of the most important changes; the implementation of the Clerkship years that rounded out the education.
Throughout the years following, medical schools have evolved due to these initial changes. Many of today’s schools have evolved into Academic Health Centers which offers the student the opportunity to work in a thriving multifaceted hospital environment such as the University of Miami Medical Center which is integrated with Jackson Memorial Hospital. This vast system of specialist’s, general medicine, a trauma ER as well as other practices is essential to the growth of the students that study at the university. Without the Flexner Report, AHC campuses may not have come into existence.
By setting a standard method of learning for all students to follow, the report achieved a major victory. All graduating students and future physicians would have similar training upon beginning their practice. The existence of doctors that had inadequate training or improper credentials was eliminated. The quality of medical care increased dramatically.
The curriculum has not remained static. Major changes have been implemented to follow with advances being made. Medical sociology is taking a stronger hold in today’s medical schools as well as programs designed to teach such courses as patient safety, quality improvement and bioterrorism. An increasing number of schools are also taking a more hands on approach by exposing students to patient interaction earlier in their medical school career; giving first year students a clinical taste of what dealing with patients will be like as they move forward.
Abraham Flexner’s recommendations through his report have had an immediate and long lasting effect on the medical schools of present day. Schools are united in a common cause to produce highly trained, dedicated and well rounded physicians. Curriculums are balanced and designed to give the medical student the best possible education possible. Are there reforms and changes on the horizon? Medicine is evolving and changing. Schools will adapt and modify as needed to stay on the cutting edge.
Flexner envisioned medical schools that were united and well balanced when it came to the curriculum provided to students. The Flexner report accomplished this vision and much more. One would wonder what he might say if he was to witness the fruits of his labor on today’s medical school campuses.
Courtney from Study Moose
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