Patients and Populations: Public Health in Medical Education

Twelve years ago, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the CDC established a formal relationship through a cooperative agreement “to strengthen collaborations between academic medicine and public health.” A consistent focus of cooperative agreement activities has been improving the public health, population health, and prevention aspects of medical education. Historically, these subjects were often omitted from the training of physicians. Contemporary medical educators continue to struggle to secure the time and resources to effectively integrate this content into the curricula, despite the urgent need for physicians with a better appreciation for these issues to help address complex public health challenges that include rising chronic disease burdens, persistent health disparities, and healthcare f?nancing that encourages treatment over prevention. The cooperative agreement has supported the Regional Medicine–Public Health Education Centers (RMPHECs)1 initiative, an effort to integrate public/population and prevention education into medical school and residency curricula through partnerships with local and state public health agencies and other public health partners, as well as reports focusing on public health topics that have not traditionally been included in medical school curricula. 2,3 To help disseminate the lessons learned by the RMPHEC grantees and to identify other promising efforts, the AAMC and the CDC convened the “Patients and Populations: Public Health in Medical Education” conference in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 14 and 15, 2010. More than 190 medical and public health educators and public health practitioners from the U.S. and Canada gathered to share innovative curricular modelsandstrategies to integrate public health into the continuum of medical education. The papers in this supplement to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine4–33 are based onmanyof the presentations and discussions that occurred during the conference."

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