A Biopsychosocial Analysis of Professional Undergraduate Medical Education in the United States




Jaini, Paresh
Herd, Van


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The biopsychosocial model of illness asserts that treating patients is a holistic process, thus emphasizing the importance of holistic medical training. In this light, I have conducted a novel biopsychosocial analysis of three (3) key components (basic sciences, psychology, and sociology) of 21st-century professional medical education in the United States. I conducted a literature review of empirical research, news articles, and medical school curriculum web pages. I found a strong emphasis on the hard sciences in the basic sciences component of (primarily) allopathic medical education. The present analysis is thus limited in scope, due to limited data available for osteopathic, homeopathic, and naturopathic modalities, which are utilized by many patients. Research in these areas is highly recommended. Moreover, the analysis of the psychological component of medical education concludes that professional medical education should teach patient-desired skills and qualities, such as communication and empathy, to their students via practice with simulated and virtual patients, as well exposure to theatre and the humanities. Likewise, medical schools should encourage students to enter primary care and also train their students in sociology to tackle the problems of health inequalities in the United States healthcare system. The final conclusion of this study is that, in order to deliver the most holistic health care possible, it is necessary to expose medical students to the vast array of topics that affect medicine.