Roughly half of all deaths in the United States are linked to behavioral and social factors. The leading causes of preventable death and disease in the United States are smoking, sedentary lifestyle, along with poor dietary habits, and alcohol consumption. To make measurable improvements in the health of Americans, physicians must be equipped with the knowledge and skills from the behavioral and social sciences needed to recognize, understand, and effectively respond to patients as individuals, not just to their symptoms. What are medical schools teaching students about the behavioral and social sciences?
In the report, the committee concluded that there is inadequate information available to sufficiently describe behavioral and social science curriculum content, teaching techniques, and assessment methodologies in U.S. medical schools and recommends development of a new national behavioral and social science database. The committee also recommended that the National Board of Medical Examiners ensure that the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination adequately cover the behavioral and social science subject matter recommended in this report.