Most medical schools give short shrift to health policy

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 21, 2011

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Despite the ways in which health system reform will affect their careers, medical students receive only 14 hours of health policy education over four years, according to a survey of 93 medical school deans published in the March 10 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine (link).

About a quarter of schools have courses dedicated to health care policy, but most cover the topic as part of classes that are broader in scope. Only 30% of deans report having a health policy department, though more than half said that plans are under way to establish such departments or institutes. The study's authors, students at Harvard Medical School in Boston, took a mandatory, 40-hour course on health policy. They write that "health policy literacy should no longer be considered an ancillary skill, but rather a core competency of a 21st-century physician."

Note: This item originally appeared at

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