Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Flexner Report

I was asked to do a little searching of the Flexner Report for a board member, and as always, I find it to be a treasure trove of fascinating information and horrifying reports. From Wikipedia: The Flexner Report is a book-length study of medical education in the United States and Canada, written by Abraham Flexner and published in 1910 under the aegis of the Carnegie Foundation. Many aspects of the present-day American medical profession stem from the Flexner Report and its aftermath.

Essentially, each medical school in the US and Canada was examined on a sliding scale, using Johns Hopkins as the ideal.

After the report was issued, the number of medical schools dropped from 155 to 31, and the number of medical schools requiring an undergraduate degree soared to 92%.


The Flexner report changed medical education from often primitive conditions to more like what we know now. 

Medical schools became more standardized with educational and graduation requirements, exams, and curriculum to include both classroom and textbook work, as well as a specific amount of clinical work. 

There were some failings, including fewer women and minorities in medical schools, and the oversight and regulation of medical education by state governments. However, much of what is in the report is still relevant today.

To read the Flexner Report, please click here.

5 comments:

  1. Hello Meg, Those poor schools sound shocking, but I often approach this subject from the 19th century side, when fraudulent medical schools proliferated, often with no facilities at all. The sub-par examples you cite were actually far from the bottom of the barrel.
    --Jim
    PS. If these reports make you squeamish, definitely don't look into conditions of food-processing plants of the times!

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    1. Thanks! These were just two of the ones from Baltimore. I couldn't bear to read anymore. One of the reasons MedChi was founded was because of the proliferation of quackery and fraudulent medicine in the late 1700's. We actually opened the first medical school in Maryland in 1807.

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  2. Hi again, Thanks for the link. I just had some fun looking through the Flexner report. Yale got pretty high marks, although some room for improvement was acknowledged. Western Reserve in Cleveland, on the other hand, I was pleased to note received an excellent report.
    --Jim

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    1. There were some stellar schools, but also some ghastly ones. The Women's Medical College got good marks for being very clean!

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