A 40-Year History of End-of-Life Offerings in US Medical Schools: 1975-2015

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Abstract

The purpose of this longitudinal study of US medical schools over a 40-year period was to ascertain their offerings on end-of-life (EOL) issues. At 5-year intervals, beginning in 1975, US medical schools were surveyed via a questionnaire to determine their EOL offerings. Data were reported with frequency distributions. The Institute of Medicine has encouraged more emphasis on EOL issues over the past 2 decades. Findings revealed that undergraduate medical students in the United States are now exposed to death and dying, palliative care, and geriatric medicine. The inclusion of EOL topics has definitely expanded over the 40-year period as findings reveal that US undergraduate medical students are currently exposed in over 90% of programs to death and dying, palliative care, and geriatric medicine, with the emphasis on these topics varying with the medical programs. Such inclusion should produce future favorable outcomes for undergraduate medical students, patients, and their families.

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