2010 Spring: Celebrating Flexner Centennial: Past, Present, and Future

Medical education in North America has been shaped over the past century by a significant explosion of new knowledge, advanced technology and more complex institutions. The recent evidence from the basic and clinical sciences suggests that a new era will configure increased scientific and regulatory oversight, learner-centered curriculum and student learning opportunities that reflect the social, ethical and economic needs of an ever-changing society. This webcast series will reflect on significant transitions and stages of change in medical education with a fresh look at future trends likely to enrich student learning and critical thinking.

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March 9, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Basic Sciences in Medical Education: From Flexner to Today (IAMSE Report on Basic Sciences in Medical Education)

Presenter: Edward P. Finnerty, Ph.D., SC(ASCP)

Pat FinnertyDr. Pat Finnerty is a Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology with extensive teaching and research experience at Des Moines University.  He holds a PhD degree from Indiana State University and before joining DMU in 1983 was a Clinical Chemist at Community Hospital, Indianapolis and Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology.

Dr. Finnerty teaches medical physiology, medical pharmacology, neuroscience and evidence based medicine (biostatistics).  His research specialty lies in the field of neuroscience, clinical studies and medical education.  He has published extensively in his field.  Dr. Finnerty is Past President (2006-2007) of the Iowa Academy of Sciences.  He has been a long time active member of IAMSE, currently he is the immediate Past President.  Most recently he was selected as a Fellow to the National Academy of Osteopathic Medical Educators.

A major legacy of Flexner’s 1910 report was the introduction of scientific rigor and its inclusion in the medical education curriculum.  The result has been a dynamic evolutionary process.  Today, though medical education looks far different from Flexner’s time, in many ways it is similar.  In celebration of Flexner’s Centennial the International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE) initiated a project to examine the role and value of the basic sciences in medical education.  We endeavored to determine What constitutes the sciences basic to medicine; What is the role and value of these foundational sciences; Where and how they should be incorporated in the curriculum and How best to assess the learning of these principles.  Through a collaborative approach involving a variety of medical educators we have focused on addressing the following question:

  1. What is the value and role of the foundational sciences in medical education?
  2. What are the sciences that constitute the foundation for medical practice of the future?
  3. When and how should these foundational sciences be incorporated into the medical education curriculum?
  4. What sciences could/should be pre-requisite components of the undergraduate medical curriculum (i.e. be part of the pre-medical requirements)?
  5. What are examples of the best practices for incorporation of the foundational sciences in the medical education curriculum (including methods for assessment)?

This presentation will be a summary report of the findings of our project.

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