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J Cancer Educ. 2004 Winter;19(4):212-9.

Evaluation of current tobacco curriculum at 12 US medical schools.

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  • 1Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA.



Training medical students in tobacco prevention and treatment skills is critical if we are to have competent physicians prepared to address the grave levels of morbidity and mortality associated with tobacco use. Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Education at US Medical Schools (PACE), a National Cancer Institute funded project, was launched to assess and improve curriculum content and teaching at 12 US medical schools.


The 2003 survey was completed by faculty and administrators. The survey was divided into four main sections: tobacco content and skills, curricular evaluation, faculty perceptions of barriers and promoters, and educational vision.


Thirty-six percent of all medical school courses had some tobacco-related content. Five schools provided a total of between 4 and 8 hours of teaching, 5 schools provided 10-13 hours, and 2 schools provided 17 and 18 hours of teaching. Of the 12 schools, 8 had fewer hours devoted to tobacco teaching in the clerkships than during the 1st-year courses. Only 2 schools noted any tobacco content for Obstetrics/Gynecology clerkships, and only 4 schools provided teaching in the pediatric setting (range 5-201 minutes).


In comparison to earlier studies, it appears that more tobacco content is now integrated into medical school courses. More improvement is necessary, however, particularly in tobacco use prevention. Institutions need to examine the role of faculty in prioritizing tobacco information and promoting a culture that builds competency in tobacco control and treatment.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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