Innovative Methods for Making Behavioral Science Relevant to Medical Education

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Thousands of psychologists teach in U.S. medical schools, and these psychologists are responsible for ensuring that the medical students they train are aware of the ways in which research findings from the behavioral and social sciences can enhance the practice of medicine. In addition, it is imperative that physicians appreciate the limits of their own ability to treat psychological and psychiatric problems and know when to refer to mental health professionals. This brief article is based on a talk given by the author at the 2007 American Psychological Association (APA) convention after receiving the Association of Psychologists in Academic Health Centers (APAHC) Ivan Mensh Award for Distinguished Achievement in Teaching. The paper draws on the personal experiences of the author after three decades spent teaching behavioral science to medical students, and it introduces readers to the reasoning behind many of the decisions made in planning and developing each of the author's four editions of the medical school text Behavior and Medicine.

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