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AAMC Project on the Clinical Education of Medical Students

Skillful physician performance is fundamental to the delivery of quality medical care. Thus, medical education must ensure that all students develop and continually refine basic clinical skills throughout their careers.

"The student no longer merely watches, listens, memorizes: he does. His own activities in the laboratory and in the clinic are the main factors in his instruction and discipline. An education in medicine nowadays involves both learning and learning how; the student cannot effectively know, unless he knows how." - Abraham Flexner, 1910


Task Force on the Clinical Skills Education of Medical Students

The AAMC's Project on the Clinical Education of Medical Students was designed to conduct a comprehensive review of the clinical education of medical students and to effect changes in the design and conduct of the clinical curriculum to improve the quality of medical students' education. As part of this Project, the AAMC convened the Task Force on the Clinical Skills Education of Medical Students in June 2003. The Task Force included representatives from the seven national clerkship organizations, the Alliance for Clinical Education, and the American Academy on Physician and Patient.

The Task Force produced Recommendations for Clinical Skills Curricula for Undergraduate Medical Education to facilitate a more explicit approach to developing medical students' clinical method performance ability, and to inspire educators in their commitment to this essential element of physician competency.

The Task Force produced a second report, Recommendations for Preclerkship Clinical Skills Education for Undergraduate Medical Education,  to suggest an approach to developing medical students skills in preclinical education.


Earlier Reports

Clinical Skills Education

An exploratory examination of the state of clinical skills education in US medical schools, resulting in a snapshot view of what is in place at the aggregate institutional level, 2002-2003


Report on Millennium Conferences I and II

The AAMC convened two national conferences, in 2001 and 2002, on the clinical education of medical students in the new millennium. The conferences involved small teams of medical educators and education leaders from a representative group of medical schools. The objective was to generate ideas for innovations in clinical education that schools could use in designing educational reforms at their institutions, and that could be disseminated widely to stimulate reform at other institutions.


The AAMC Project on the Clinical Education of Medical Students

The AAMC conducted a study during the 2000-2001 academic year to gain insight into the clinical education of medical students. The study design included review of a number of relevant reports and documents, extraction of relevant data from several AAMC databases, and structured site visits to more than 20 medical schools. The results of the study showed a number of deficiencies in students' clinical education.


Recommendations for Clinical Skills Curricula for Undergraduate Medical Education

This consensus document contains six specific recommendations for developing an explicit clinical skills curriculum for medical students. These include guiding principles, specific clinical skills objectives, a menu of specific skills for consideration, a set of categories for organizing clinical skill learning opportunities, an explicit developmental approach to clinical skills curricular design, and a set of curricular program elements.


Contact Clinical Skills

Alexis L.Ruffin, MS
Director, Constituent Engagement
Telephone: 202-828-0439
Email: alruffin@aamc.org


Medical Education Initiatives

The AAMC's vision is to lead innovation along the continuum of medical education to meet the health needs of the public.