Informing curriculum development in health sciences

Stefan, Cristina (2011)

CITATION: Stefan, C. 2011. Informing Curriculum Developments in Health Sciences: A Delphi Method Inquiry, in E. Bitzer & N. Botha (eds.). Curriculum Inquiry in South African Higher Education: Some Scholarly Affirmations and Challenges. Stellenbosch: SUN MeDIA. 299-314. doi:10.18820/9781920338671/15.

The original publication is available from AFRICAN SUN MeDIA, Stellenbosch: South Africa.

Chapters in Books

INTRODUCTION: The education of future medical professionals has to ensure that their knowledge and skills are relevant to the health care needs of their future patients, in a context of continuous change of society, science, technology and environment. A rapid tour of the horizon will identify a few examples of evolving health care needs, which should inform the curricula of medical schools. To start with, the disease profile of populations evolves as their income and lifestyle change and their life expectancy increases. Another example would be the latest pandemic of HIV/AIDS, which requires appropriate medical skills and a rethinking of the management of many diseases for those living with the virus. Further, patients’ increasing awareness of their rights has to be paralleled by doctors’ awareness of the complex ethical issues which sometimes arise from the practice of the profession. In addition, the progress of science opens new knowledge domains, such as genomics – the study of the structure and function of genes – which reshape the understanding of disease. The accumulation of data from extensive research in all fields of medicine makes it possible, for the first time in the history of the profession, to practise evidence-based medicine, informed by the systematic analysis of the results of numerous studies on the same disease and thus to move away from treatments based merely on case series or expert opinions. A further example, by no means the last, is the renewed interest in complementary and alternative medicine in the search to expand the therapeutic panoply against disease.

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