Queen's University

A piece missing in the new medical school curriculum?

Dr. David J. Schleich, Ed'77, the president of the U.S. National ­College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR, offers a suggestion he feels will strengthen the new medical school curriculum.

Re: “Rx for excellence,” Issue #1- 2011 P. 20

Dean Reznick and the faculty, students and support staff of the new medical building must be excited. I was excited to learn about the facilities. I was impressed that the curriculum momentum in the ­Faculty is more about competency-based, learner-centered activity. Kudos for moving away from the focus on teaching the pathologies and toward clinical presentations. The small group delivery structures are gutsy to implement. Dr. Anthony ­Sanfilippo and his colleagues can see what’s coming in primary care and seem to have planned well.

Here in the United States where healthcare is so wretchedly commodified, the Queen’s model will attract much attention. There is, though, a piece missing. Natural medicine colleges and programs in the U.S. are growing rapidly. The so-called “integrated medicine” movement here in America – as it is in Canada – is wobbling around not only among unfamiliar curriculum content, but is also more curious and ­serious about clinical application. Unfortunately, there is a lot of cherry-picking of modalities long dismissed by biomedicine (such as dry needling, formal classical Chinese medicine, naturopathic medicine, homeopathic medicine) occurring as these changes in medical education strategies take root.

Dr. David J. Schleich, Ed'77

The brief “medical acupuncture” program at UCLA mocks the 3,000-hour-plus program at bona fide Classical Chinese Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine medical schools, for example, but MDs are wise to know more about dry needling since millions of their patients are experiencing it.

Queen’s could distinguish itself dramatically among orthodox allopathic medical schools by considering the advice that ­authors Cooke, Irby, and O'Brien ­offered in their 2010 book Educating Physicians: A Call For Reform of Medical School and ­Residency (Jossey-Bass). It was not by ­coincidence that the book appeared ­exactly 100 years to the month after ­Abraham Flexner’s 1910 Report incubated and stimulated medical education reform in North America and across the planet.

The new teaching model described in “Rx for Excellence” suggests that ­Sanfilippo and the team at Queen’s are aware that it’s quite a new ball game.

That the largest jurisdiction of licensed naturopathic physicians in the world is now ­Ontario, Canada, is not a coincidence ­either. Queen’s medical leaders should dust off Educating Physicians: A Call For Reform Of Medical School And Residency and invite the ­Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) to ­visit their new digs. Queen’s ­students will meet NDs in droves in the coming years and will wonder why heterodox medical systems got such short shrift even in the curriculum and teaching methodologies of ­progressive schools such as Queen’s.

Queen's Alumni Review, 2011 Issue #2Queen's Alumni Review
2011 Issue #2
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