TABLE ES-1Behavioral and Social Science Topics of High and Medium Priority for Inclusion in Medical School Curricula

Domain High Priority Medium Priority
Mind–Body Interactions in Health and Disease
  • Biological mediators between psychological and social factors and health
  • Psychological, social, and behavioral factors in chronic disease
  • Psychological and social aspects of human development that influence disease and illness
  • Psychosocial aspects of pain
  • Psychosocial, biological, and management issues in somatization
  • Interaction among illness, family dynamics, and culture
Patient Behavior
  • Health risk behaviors
  • Principles of behavior change
  • Impact of psychosocial stressors and psychiatric disorders on manifestations of other illnesses and on health behavior
Physician Role and Behavior
  • Ethical guidelines for professional behavior
  • Personal values, attitudes, and biases as they influence patient care
  • Physician well-being
  • Social accountability and responsibility
  • Work in health care teams and organizations
  • Use of and linkage with community resources to enhance patient care
Physician–Patient Interactions
  • Basic communication skills
  • Complex communication skills
  • Context of patient's social and economic situation, capacity for self-care, and ability to participate in shared decision making
  • Management of difficult or problematic physician–patient interactions
Social and Cultural Issues in Health Care
  • Impact of social inequalities in health care and the social factors that are determinants of health outcomes
  • Cultural competency
  • Role of complementary and alternative medicine
Health Policy and Economics
  • Overview of U.S. health care system
  • Economic incentives affecting patients' health-related behaviors
  • Costs, cost-effectiveness, and physician responses to financial incentives
  • Variations in care

From: Executive Summary

Cover of Improving Medical Education
Improving Medical Education: Enhancing the Behavioral and Social Science Content of Medical School Curricula.
Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Behavioral and Social Sciences in Medical School Curricula; Cuff PA, Vanselow NA, editors.
Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2004.
Copyright © 2004, National Academy of Sciences.

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