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AMA Works to Enhance Medical Education

New areas of study to help prepare physicians to better meet the nation’s needs

For immediate release
June 17, 2009

CHICAGO – To meet the nation’s growing health-care needs, the American Medical Association (AMA) calls for adding new areas of study to medical education, including health-care economics, public health, and disaster preparedness.

As health-care costs continue to grow at an unsustainable rate, the AMA adopted policy today to work to encourage education in health-care economics during the continuum of a physician’s professional life, starting at undergraduate medical education through continuing medical education.

“Escalating health care costs weigh heavily on our patients, their families, and significantly impact our economy,” said AMA Board Member William Hazel, MD.  “Incorporating health-care economics into medical education will allow physicians and future physicians to have a greater sense of this issue that is so important to patients.”

The AMA also passed policy today to work to integrate public health training in undergraduate, graduate, and continuing medical education. The AMA will also support legislative efforts to fund preventive medicine and public health training programs for graduate medical students.

“To help medical students gain a better understanding of public health concerns, improved education in public health is needed to ensure a physician workforce that is better able to address threats to our nation’s health, including flu pandemic, bioterrorism, obesity and health disparities,” said Dr. Hazel.

Surveys indicate that many medical students believe their education in disaster medicine and public health preparedness can be improved. The AMA passed policy today to work to incorporate education and training in disaster medicine and public health preparedness into the curriculum at all medical schools and residency programs. The AMA encourages teaching methods that include simulation, disaster drills and team-based learning.

“Since September 11, 2001, disasters – both human-caused and natural – have highlighted the need for increased medical preparedness,” said Dr. Hazel. “Education and training in disaster medicine and public health preparedness should be integrated as a basic element of life-long learning for all clinical and public health professionals. The risk of not doing so cannot be ignored.”

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For additional information, please contact:

Leah Dudowicz
AMA Media Relations
(312) 464-4813