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Genetics, Epidemiology, and Ethics: A Proposal for Curriculum Reform
Introduction by
Barbara J. Culliton

In the Literature

The last major curriculum change at The University of Vermont's College of Medicine (UVM) came in the 1970s, when medical students were introduced to clinical care in their first year. This integration of clinical and basic science education was viewed by some as revolutionary. Recognizing how changes in genetic medicine will change the way physicians practice medicine in the 21st century, some UVM faculty, residents and students said recently that it is once again time for a major curriculum change. A task force at the medical school proposed in 1998 changes based on a theoretical framework that integrates genetics, epidemiology, and ethics. The three disciplines would serve as organizing principles for a curriculum that is competency-based, patient-focused, and integrated across the basic and clinical sciences.

James J. Hudziak, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and medicine at UVM, presented the proposal for the new curriculum at a conference two years ago. If implemented, he said at the time, the experimental curriculum would be unique and could possibly serve as a model for others medical schools. Since then, other schools have been watching the Vermont experiment with great interest.

Below is the link for an essay by Hudziak's called "Genetics, Epidemiology, and Ethics: Organizing Principles for Medical Education in the 21st Century." The essay appeared in The Implications of Genetics for Health Professional Education, a collection of papers delivered at a 1998 conference sponsored by the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation.

--Barbara J. Culliton

Download Dr. Hudziak's essay (pdf)

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