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BMC Med Educ. 2019 Apr 16;19(1):110. doi: 10.1186/s12909-019-1535-9.

Medical education today: all that glitters is not gold.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, McGovern Medical School, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), 6431 Fannin St., MSB2.276, Houston, TX, 77005, USA.



The medical education system based on principles advocated by Flexner and Osler has produced generations of scientifically grounded and clinically skilled physicians whose collective experiences and contributions have served medicine and patients well. Yet sweeping changes launched around the turn of the millennium have constituted a revolution in medical education. In this article, a critique is presented of the new undergraduate medical education (UME) curricula in relationship to graduate medical education (GME) and clinical practice.


Medical education has changed and will continue to change in response to scientific advances and societal needs. However, enthusiasm for reform needs to be tempered by a more measured approach to avoid unintended consequences. Movement from novice to master in medicine cannot be rushed. An argument is made for a shoring up of biomedical science in revised curricula with the beneficiaries being nascent practitioners, developing physician-scientists --and the public.


Unless there is further modification, the new integrated curricula are at risk of produce graduates deficient in the characteristics that have set physicians apart from other healthcare professionals, namely high-level clinical expertise based on a deep grounding in biomedical science and understanding of the pathologic basis of disease. The challenges for education of the best possible physicians are great but the benefits to medicine and society are enormous.


Graduate medical education; Medical science; Undergraduate medical education; pathology, physician-scientists.

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