Establishing health promotion in the modern medical curriculum: a case study

Med Teach. 2007 Oct;29(8):766-71. doi: 10.1080/01421590701477407.


Background: The subject of health promotion has yet to be established as core content in undergraduate medical curricula, despite calls from the medical education community and from regulatory bodies such as the UK's General Medical Council more than a decade ago. At the same time, concerns about the decline in popularity of teaching public health have been raised.

Aims: The challenges associated with teaching both disciplines--health promotion and public health--are complex and linked, but, for health promotion, we argue that two factors are paramount: the nature of the discipline, and how it is presented as being relevant to undergraduate medical curricula, in particular those with integrated courses.

Methods: Using the approach taken at one medical school as a case study, this paper discusses the factors surrounding health-promotion curricular development. It explores these challenges, including the relevance of health promotion to medical students, medical teachers, and medical practitioners.

Results: These developments are linked to process and content and, therefore, to learning outcomes.

Conclusions: There is a paucity of information from medical schools about their approaches to health promotion curricula content and teaching. This paper may provide schools with ideas for the development of their own health promotion content.

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / organization & administration
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Models, Educational
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • Program Development / methods*
  • Teaching / methods
  • Teaching Materials
  • United Kingdom