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How Much Neurology Should a Medical Student Learn? A Position Statement of the AAN Undergraduate Education Subcommittee

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Abstract

Neurologic disease, already common in the United States, will become even more common in the future. But presently, neurology education at the undergraduate level and in primary care residencies is declining and does not adequately train physicians to manage neurologic illness. The authors maintain that this serious problem can be partially addressed by improving the neurology education of all primary care physicians and by allowing students access to neurology specialists. The education of medical students in the basic and clinical neurosciences must be integrated into a seamless curriculum over the four years of medical education. This educational experience must be taught through a team approach and must be led by both a clinician and a basic scientist. All medical students must acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to perform an initial evaluation of the patient with a neurologic complaint. Finally, students must understand the role and recognize the importance of the neurologist and know when consultation is needed. This continuum of neurology education must be financially supported by the institution, and course leaders who show excellence in education must be rewarded with compensation and promotion.

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