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J Am Coll Dent. 1994 Fall-Winter;61(2):34-9.

Higher education and health professions education: shared responsibilities in engaging societal issues and in developing the learned professional.

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Baylor College of Dentistry, Dallas, TX 75266-0677.


Higher education and, in turn, health professions education are being buffeted by a multiplicity of external and internal forces. Issues related to fiscal constraints, higher education's crisis of values and the teaching/research and educational outcomes dilemmas are explored. The increasing accountability of higher education by its public, including measures of institutional effectiveness exacerbate these forces. Health professions education programs and their parent universities and colleges must take better advantage of their respective resources and become united around central educational paradigms and outcomes. The ability of higher education and health professions education to engage and connect to societal issues is critical to the appropriate education of the student and to institutional survival. By interweaving the philosophy and culture of the university or college setting in the fabric of health professions education and particularly dental education, an environment could be created that results in a true learning institution. That is, one in which students and faculty learn together in all settings. The outcomes of such engagement are shared responsibilities and the creation of the learned professional, one who is connected to the world and is not trapped by parochial knowledge. Thus, the continuum of health professions education transcends technical and cognitive achievement but addresses core societal values as well. This paper then explores some of the factors impacting upon higher education and assesses their influence on the nation's health professions schools, and, specifically, colleges of dental medicine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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