Wellness and Impairment Content in Schools of Medicine Curricula in the United States and Canada
Moss, Shannon B.
Smith, Patrick O.
- Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
Medical Education Online
Medical students experience numerous stressors, ranging from academic demands to financial strain. These stressors contribute to medical students having a substantial incidence of psychological problems, substance abuse, and seeking of mental health treatment. Left untreated, these problems can result in dysfunctional habit development and subsequent professional impairment. Research has demonstrated the benefits of wellness-impairment educational programs in medical education, but it is unknown to what degree the topics of wellness and impairment are included in medical school curricula. To assess this, a 13-item survey instrument was sent to associate deans in 142 schools of allopathic medicine; 71 (50.0%) responded. The majority of respondents reported that physician impairment (95.8%) and wellness (77.5%) are addressed in their school of medicine curricula, although the degree to which these topics were included varied. Access to other health-promoting resources on campus was also assessed and is discussed. Results suggested that there is a disparity between primary and secondary prevention approaches on school of medicine campuses. Implications for curricula and directions for future research are discussed.