Should health policy be mandatory for medical students?

With health reform upon us, it would be helpful if future doctors knew a bit more about health policy.

Although some schools give some token courses on the subject, the majority don’t. For instance, everything I learned about health policy was from reading medical and policy-related blogs over the past few years.

This piece from Slate gives one reason: medical students are too busy. Indeed, “Faced with a choice between learning about a high-paying specialty like radiology or gastroenterology or cardiology—all of which have limited residency slots—and public policy, there is no choice.”

Some schools, like Harvard Medical School, are taking steps to change that, by forcing students to take semester-long courses in health policy. And that’s a good thing. Doctors need to have a louder voice in the health care debate, since any reform has to potential to fundamentally change our professional lives.

We don’t have to agree, and to be sure, doctors aren’t even close to being on the same page, but having an informed opinion is better than having none at all.

(via Matthew Mintz)

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