News From The End Of Life

AMSA to review med school curriculum

The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) plans to evaluate end-of-life and palliative care curriculums used in U.S. medical schools. The best will be honored with the AMSA’s Paul R. Wright Award for Excellence in Medical Education in March 2001.

The review of medical schools comes after strong criticism of end-of-life curriculum and the absence of palliative care education in textbooks. A study published in March detailed how leading medical textbooks generally don’t include enough information on how to care for patients at the end of their lives. Previous studies have concluded that many patients unnecessarily die in pain or in hospitals rather than at home. Inadequate training in that area is to blame for this deficiency in care.

"We feel that it is important to critically examine medical school curricula in this area, determine which programs are successful, and promote these ideas so that all medical schools incorporate this important topic in medical education," says Sindhu Srinivas, MD, AMSA’s national president.

AMSA’s Paul R. Wright Award in Excellence in Medical Education was established in 1993 to recognize a medical school whose exemplary achievements in medical education foster the development of socially responsive physicians. Past topics have focused on medical student well-being, medical technology, and the recruitment of minority students.

Founded in 1950, AMSA is the nation’s largest independent medical student organization, with more than 30,000 members at more than 150 medical schools nationwide. Visit www.amsa.org for more information.