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Acad Med. 1992 Mar;67(3):203-6.

Review of three decades of laboratory exercises in the preclinical curriculum at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

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Department of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio.


The authors reviewed the use of preclinical curricular time for laboratory exercises at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine from 1955-56 to 1988-89. Total hours decreased from over 1,000 in 1960-61 to just under 300 in 1988-89. From 1955-56 to 1985-86, laboratory hours devoted to animal and human physiology declined by 92%. Although the precise reasons for these changes--which have occurred in medical schools across the country--are difficult to document, the authors view them with concern. After considering the advantages and disadvantages of preclinical laboratory exercises, they conclude that the former still outweigh the latter. The further disappearance of laboratory exercises from the curriculum should be halted by efforts to revitalize them.

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