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Student Perspectives on Public Health Education in Undergraduate Medical Education

Background: Incorporating population-based health into the medical curriculum is a challenge to US medical schools. A better understanding of student attitudes about the value of public health education and satisfaction can help guide the development and implementation of public health education into curricula.

Aim: To describe attitudes about public health education among medical students.

Methods: Attitudes about public health education, topics that should be taught in medical school, and perceptions about the adequacy of public health education were measured using items from the AAMC Graduation Questionnaire and questions that were based on the core competencies in public health for medical students.

Results: Seventy-eight percent of students agreed that physicians should be required to learn public health. But, M2, M3, and M4 students were significantly more likely than M1 students to report that public health information is common sense knowledge (p=0.03). Most students agreed that it was important to learn topics related to health promotion, maternal/ child health, and nutrition and also agreed that the amount of instruction in public health topics was adequate.

Conclusions: Implementing a longitudinal curriculum in public health may help students see the value and importance of this field as they prepare to leave medical school for practice.


Kevin Correll Keith

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