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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 96-99

Humanization of medical education: Need of the hour

Professor of Psychiatry and Sr. Consultant in Behaviour Medicine, Sree Gokulam Medical College and Research Foundation, Former Director of Medical Education, Kerala and Former National President of the Indian Psychiatric Society, Trivandrum, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
K. A. Kumar
Sree Gokulam Medical College and Research Foundation, Trivandrum, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2321-4848.133847

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Though the importance of psychological factors in maintenance of health, as well as etiology and prognosis of diseases have been recognized in ancient medicine by discerning and thoughtful clinicians in all ages, for the large majority of the practitioners such a perception has not been there. A cross-sectional, organ-based, and symptom-centered clinical approach was largely prevalent in day-to-day medicine. Medical training also followed more or less the same path. The positive psychological and behavioral qualities needed in the physician are left to the individual student to develop on his own during studies or to the physician afterwards. Some do, many do not. The importance of communication, doctor-patient relationship, empathy and psychological sensitivity in the making of a physician started getting identified in advanced medical universities in western countries by the middle of the last century. Since then behavioral science and medical humanities have been incorporated as important modules in the graduate medical training curriculum not only in advanced western medical universities, but also in good universities elsewhere. The situation in India, till now has been quite unsatisfactory. The undergraduate medical students had only 2 weeks of clinical posting and few hours of lectures, allotted for psychiatry: Even these were not actually carried out in many institutions properly. Responding to repeated representations from mental health experts in the country and abroad, medical universities and educationists, the Medical Council of India in 2012 has made 2 weeks of Residential Internship in Psychiatry (CRRI) mandatory, and also recommended incorporation of medical humanities in the MBBS curriculum. The paper presents a brief outline of how a Clinical Behavioral Sciences Training Program l incorporating medical humanities can be developed and carried out as a mainstream component for the undergraduate medical training in the country. The author points out that, if medical administrators and medical teachers take it up in right earnest, it would be the most significant contribution to humanize medical education in the country-which is precisely the need of the hour in the field.

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