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Acad Med. 2000 Jul;75(7 Suppl):S85-9.

Teaching prevention through electives.

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Center for International Health, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Shrewsbury 01545, USA.


The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) accreditation standards affirm that the medical school curriculum should include elective courses to supplement the required courses and provide opportunities for students to pursue individual academic interests. The breadth of opportunities in preventive medicine and population health is extensive as students seek rotations at health departments, rural and urban community health centers, community agencies, occupational health sites, schools, and abroad. A growing number of students choose to participate in MD/MPH dual-degree programs. This article describes four prototypes that foster student learning in preventive medicine: population health, international health, American Medical Student Association opportunities, and public health degree programs. These four types of electives enable students to participate in the front lines of preventive services through experiential learning in: community and population health both at home and abroad, continuous quality improvement, organization and behavioral change, interprofessional teamwork, and health care policy. For those with particular interests in population health and preventive medicine, an increasing number of medical schools offer dual MD/MPH programs, either in conjunction with schools of public health or in graduate programs in public health.

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