Dartmouth professors: Liberal arts education is at the heart of medicine

As the nation's medical schools face ever-tightening budgets and the price of undergraduate education rises, many wonder if liberal arts education still has value as part of an overall medical education.

Some may feel the economic pressures give schools and students even more reason to focus on the technical skills rather than the arts and humanities during their time in school. 

However, three professors from Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine in Hanover, N.H., wrote an op-ed featured by the San Francisco Chronicle that begs to differ. Leslie Henderson, PhD, dean of faculty affairs and a professor of physiology, neurobiology and biochemistry; Glenda Shoop, PhD, assistant professor of medicine and of the office of medical education; and Lisa Adams, MD, associate dean for global health and associate professor of medicine and community and family medicine, wrote that now more than ever physicians need a broad understanding of the socio-cultural constructs that impact patients' health and how they receive care. 

As such, a liberal education is not only a critical foundation to a medical education, but it is deeply ingrained in medical school curricula, they wrote. "To succeed at their trade, doctors not only need to have a sophisticated knowledge of biology, they also must master the complex clinical micro- and macro-systems in which their patients live and they work," Drs. Henderson, Shoop and Adams wrote. 

Medicine is an art and a science, they remind readers, and medical schools are more than just a professional training ground, they are also "an epitome of true liberal education."

Read the full article here.


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