branch of education devoted
to training doctors in the practice of medicine. In 18th-century colonial
America, prospective physicians either apprenticed themselves to established
practitioners or went abroad to study in the traditional schools of London,
Paris, and Edinburgh. Medicine was first taught formally by specialists at the
University of Pennsylvania, beginning in 1765, and in 1767 at King's College
(now Columbia University), the first institution in the colonies to confer the
degree of doctor of medicine. Following the American Revolution, the Columbia
medical faculty (formerly of King's College) was merged with the College of
Physicians and Surgeons, chartered in 1809, which survives as a division of
In 1893 the Johns Hopkins
Medical School required all applicants to have a college degree and was the
first to afford its students the opportunity to further their training in an
affiliated teaching hospital. The growth of medical schools affiliated with
established institutions of learning was paralleled by the development of
proprietary schools of medicine run for personal profit, most of which had low
standards and inadequate facilities. In 1910 Abraham Flexner, the American
education reformer, wrote Medical Education in the United States and Canada,
exposing the inadequacies of most proprietary schools. Subsequently, the
American Medical Association and the Association of American Medical Colleges
laid down standards for course content, qualifications of teachers, laboratory
facilities, affiliation with teaching hospitals, and licensing of practitioners
that survive to this day.
By the late 1980s the U.S.
and Canada had 142 4-year medical colleges accredited by the Liaison Committee
on Medical Education to award the M.D. degree; during the 1987-88 academic year,
47,262 men and 25,686 women were enrolled and an estimated 11,752 men and 5958
women were graduated. Graduates, after a year of internship, receive licenses to
practice if they pass an examination administered either by a state board or by
the National Board of Medical Examiners.
Education," Microsoft® Encarta® 96 Encyclopedia. © 1993-1995
Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. © Funk & Wagnalls Corporation.
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