Social factors and lifestyle behaviors contribute substantiality to morbidity and mortality in the US and yet medical education does not adequately equip physicians to address these issues. Better trained future physicians will be able to reduce the ill effects of such factors by using behavioral and social science knowledge and skills, working in partnership with patients. The University of North Carolina School of Medicine has a tradition of excellence in behavioral and social sciences teaching. Many of the fundamental principles of these topics are addressed in the first two years of the curriculum, but the clinical applications and skill development, particularly in the behavioral sciences, are not. We lack a systematic and integrated approach across the entire curriculum that reaches from the basic science level in the classroom to the skills development level in clinical settings. The School of Medicine is requesting $1.2 million over a 5-year project period to redesign and substantially strengthen teaching of the behavioral and social sciences through all 4 years of the medical student curriculum. Our five specific aims are: 1) to build a Leadership Team and fully engage our considerable faculty experts;2) to develop a framework of measurable learning objectives, from principles to skills, that emphasizes chronic disease management, disease prevention and health disparities;3) to link faculty experts from the Departments of Social Medicine, Family Medicine and the Office of Educational Development with clerkship/course directors to create and implement new curricula, utilizing Office of Educational Development expertise in curriculum design, implementation and evaluation;4) through faculty development, to enhance the capacity of campus and external faculty, residents, and community preceptors to teach, and model, these new curricular components;and 5) in partnership with other schools, to launch a major national dissemination of the most successful strategies that have been developed and tested, and to collectively develop student evaluation strategies that can be used to encourage the National Board of Medical Examiners to test more in these domains. This opportunity comes at a critical time because our curriculum is in the midst of major revisions that invite the addition of new material. The school administration and a substantial number of faculty are fully committed to the proposed changes. As a result, our graduates should be more effective physicians.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Academic/Teacher Award (ATA) (K07)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-BBBP-H (50))
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Newcomer, Susan
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University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Schools of Medicine
Chapel Hill
United States
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Carney, Patricia A; Rdesinski, Rebecca; Blank, Arthur E et al. (2010) Utility of the AAMC's Graduation Questionnaire to study behavioral and social sciences domains in undergraduate medical education. Acad Med 85:169-76