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Ann Intern Med. 1992 Apr 1;116(7):569-74.

Health, Society, and the Physician: problem-based learning of the social sciences and humanities. Eight years of experience.

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Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH.


We describe a required course for fourth-year medical students focusing on the application of the social sciences and the humanities to critical decisions in the practice of medicine. During 160 hours (70 with faculty contact) in a 7-week period, active, patient-centered, problem-based learning takes place in small collaborating groups, is facilitated by trained tutors, and uses computerized access to library materials plus reference files and resource persons. Major issues identified in the cases are clarified in complementary lectures and symposia. Formative evaluation is ongoing within tutorial groups. Summative evaluation is determined by the individual student's performance in a final complex management problem using a simulated patient. Evaluation of the course, and the basis for its ongoing revision, are provided by participating students and faculty, whose evaluations of the course have been favorable in 80% to 90% of cases.

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