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Acad Med. 2000 Jul;75(7 Suppl):S66-71.

Teaching prevention in pediatrics.

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  • 1Department of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Children's National Medical Center, George Washington University, Washington, DC 20010, USA.


Pediatrics has attempted to inculcate the "culture of prevention" into practice, both through anticipatory guidance in well-child care and through behavioral interventions in sick care. The effectivenesses of many components of well-child care have not been conclusively demonstrated, particularly in health education, counseling, and anticipatory guidance, nor has teaching prevention in pediatrics been thoroughly evaluated. This article reviews methods of teaching prevention in pediatrics and highlights innovative programs. Teaching programs use the wide range of approaches now common in medical education, in a variety of inpatient and outpatient sites. Programs across the country are trying new approaches to teaching traditional topics or are introducing new topics into their curricula. Examples of specific programs are given, organized by the themes of the programs. The field needs to develop in three major directions. First, there is a need to develop competencies and curricula in prevention issues of contemporary importance, including the new morbidities, cross-cultural issues, cost-effectiveness, quality of care, and practice in managed care and other community settings. Second, further work is needed to evaluate programs and measure educational outcomes. This feedback must in turn be used to redefine competencies, curricula, and programs, Third, there needs to be an accessible clearinghouse, and educational tools need to be disseminated. To be effective, a curriculum for prevention in pediatrics cannot stand alone, but must be part of a vertically and horizontally integrated curriculum. Further, creating horizontally and vertically integrated curricula in prevention teaching across disciplines should be the standard.

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