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Medical Education and Practice in People's Republic of China

Abstract

A dramatic adaptation of medical education to meet indigenous needs and circumstances has occurred in the People's Republic of China in the context of a highly structured health care delivery and medical referral system, entailing a reduction in curriculum length from 6 to 3 years. Although general directions and guidelines are set centrally by Peking, considerable autonomy and flexibility exist in individual schools. The innovative approaches used include training medical students in the countryside and factories as well as medical schools, combining traditional Chinese and modern Western medicine, opening hospital-run medical schools, and using unconventional methods of producing medical doctors. On graduation the students generally return to the communities from which they came. Although the total number of medical graduates still falls short of national requirements, the problem of maldistribution of physicians has been alleviated in China. Medical care is now readily available in rural areas, where 80% of the population resides.

Author and Article Information

Received for publication August 8, 1975. Accepted for publication August 22, 1975.

Washington, D.C., and Boston, Massachusetts

{blacktriangleright}From the Departments of Medicine, George Washington University School of Medicine and Medical Center, Washington, D.C.; and the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

{blacktriangleright}Requests for reprints should be addressed to Tsung O. Cheng, M.D., George Washington University Medical Center, 2150 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: The authors thank the other members of the American medical delegation and our host, the Chinese Medical Association, for their invaluable contributions in making our visit to the People's Republic of China a success.

 

Current perspectives on medical education in China

CONTEXT:
China has a long tradition of education and medicine. However, limited economic conditions and a huge population mean that further development of medical education in China must be tailored to meet the country's needs.

OBJECTIVES:
The aim of this paper is to describe current medical education practice in China with reference to the general and historical purposes of education in China and how they have affected and continue to affect student learning. Reference is also made to both Western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine.

METHODS:
It is argued that traditional educational practices in China have encouraged rote learning and that creativity is not cultivated. This affects the way many Chinese students learn medicine. Since 1949, the Chinese medical education system has developed according to its own needs. The current system for training medical students is complex, with medical school curricula lasting 3-8 years. However, medical education reform is taking place and new teaching methods are being introduced in some schools.

DISCUSSION:
Medical education is important to China's large population. The undergraduate medical education system is being streamlined and national standards are being established. Innovations in medical education have recently been encouraged and supported, including the adoption of problem-based learning. It is important that the momentum is kept up so that the health care of a fifth of the world's population is assured.

 

Medical curriculum reform in Sun Yat-sen University: implications from the results of GMER evaluation in China

Created by interlocking economies, a global language, the informatics revolution and rapid travel, globalization has penetrated all aspects of human life including science, environment, public health and medicine. Physicians are now members of a global community. The global physician should possess universal core essential competences required for medical practice throughout the world. The Institute for International Medical Education (IIME), created by the China Medical Board (CMB) of New York, has developed the " global minimal essential requirements" (GMER) that define the knowledge, skills, professional behavior and ethics that all physicians must have regardless of where they received their general medical education and training. The IIME initiated a pilot project in China in October, 2003, to evaluate the graduates of the 7- or 8-year track program of eight leading medical schools, including Medical School of Sun Yat-sen University. The results of GMER evaluation indicated strengths and areas for improvement of our school in relation to international standards, which greatly re-invigorate our enthusiasm on medical curriculum reform on the new 8-year track program in Medical School of Sun Yat-sen University. The modifications of our medical curriculum for the new 8-year track program based on the results of GMER evaluation are discussed in this paper.
 

Medical education in China's leading medical schools

This article gives a general overview of the evolution and present state of the undergraduate medical education system, programs, evaluation methods and conferred degrees in contemporary China. The publication is based on the information collected from on-site visits to the eight (8) leading medical universities, medical education conferences, visits to Ministries of Health and Education and their staff, and the contribution of Chinese medical education experts. As the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China (PRC) approves all tracks and strives for uniformity of educational programs as a cornerstone of quality, this overview reflects the general content of all five- and seven-year medical education programs that have provided the great majority of physicians since the founding of the People's Republic of China.
 

A descriptive analysis of medical education in China

A highly trained medical profession is vital to a country's economic development. With the development of a growing economy in China and the increasing impact of globalization, the recent outbreak of new infectious diseases including SARS and the lethal avian influenza have highlighted the importance of medicine and medical care. Ultimately, the health of the public depends on the quality of the medical education programmes. This article outlines the various educational policies in China, points out deficiencies in the medical education of China when compared to the American model of medical education and makes suggestions of changes that need to be made to Chinese medical education programmes.
 
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