We propose to transform the Baylor College of Medicine curriculum to reflect an ideal balance among the behavioral, biomedical, and social sciences using a relationship-centered approach. All ten of the indicators of Healthy People 2010 reflect behavioral and social issues. Because nearly 50% of morbidity and mortality in the U.S. are related to behavioral and social factors, 21st century medical graduates need to possess a full range of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors that include both behavioral/social sciences and biomedical sciences. The presence of informal and social forces within medical school environments (commonly termed the """"""""hidden curriculum"""""""") often marginalizes the importance of the behavioral and social sciences. Taking this into account, we plan to offset these forces by influencing relationships within the institution.
Our Specific Aims are to educate the 21st-century physician through: 1) Transforming core student-teacher relationships through strategically reshaping the formal medical school curriculum;2) Transforming student-faculty relationships in the """"""""hidden curriculum"""""""" through a multifaceted faculty development program;3) Transforming other core relationships in addition to the student-teacher relationship (e.g., student-self, student-student, etc.);and 4) Promoting an institutional environment that recognizes and values the mediating influence of relationships and the importance of the behavioral and social sciences in medical student education. Our methods will include reviewing/enhancing current curriculum content and implementing new initiatives (e.g. Learning Communities);teacher development efforts and developing enduring materials;implementing reflective practices for students through portfolios, Learning Communities, and four-year patient relationships;and instituting awards systems, protecting faculty time, and heightening institutional awareness. Using an established evaluation framework, we will measure: 1) ratings of program effectiveness, 2) changes in knowledge, skills, and attitudes, 3) changes in relationship-centered behaviors, and 4) improvements in the educational environment (e.g., formal and hidden curriculum, institutional support of relationship-centered education). By building on existing initiatives at Baylor and the expertise and experience of the multidisciplinary project team, we will ensure both high quality content and educational processes devoted to the Behavioral and Social Sciences.
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