Integrating the teaching of basic sciences, clinical sciences, and biopsychosocial issues

Acad Med. 1998 Sep;73(9 Suppl):S24-31. doi: 10.1097/00001888-199809001-00006.


In this chapter, the author describes integrating the teaching of the basic sciences, clinical sciences, and biopsychosocial issues in medical education as part of the curricular reform efforts initiated by schools that participated in The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's project "Preparing: Physicians for the Future: Program in Medical Education." The author focuses on the approaches the eight schools adopted, the challenges they encountered, and the lessons they learned in attempting to implement more integrated curricula. Integration was promoted both within and among various components of medical education. For example, in some cases discipline-based courses in the basic sciences were replaced with interdisciplinary courses. Further, efforts were made both to bring clinical relevance to the basic sciences and to strengthen basic science in the clinical years. All the schools also promoted the study of the humanities and biopsychosocial sciences throughout the curriculum. The author describes problems encountered in these endeavors, resources needed to support interdisciplinary courses, the benefits of integration, and common lessons learned by the eight schools.

MeSH terms

  • Biology / education
  • Curriculum / standards*
  • Education, Medical / standards*
  • Educational Measurement
  • Humanities / education
  • Psychology / education
  • Science / education*
  • Sociology / education
  • United States