The Flexner Report
PS2150: Patient Relations
The Flexner Report is the most important event in the history of American and Canadian medical education. It was a commentary on the condition of medical education in the early 1900s and gave rise to modern medical education. The Flexner Report triggered much-needed reforms in the standards, organization, and curriculum of North American medical schools. At the time of the Report, many medical schools were proprietary schools operated more for profit than for education. Flexner criticized these schools as a loose and lax apprenticeship system that lacked defined standards or goals beyond the generation of financial gain. In their stead Flexner proposed medical schools in the German tradition of strong biomedical sciences together with hands-on clinical training. The Flexner Report caused many medical schools to close down and most of the remaining schools were reformed to conform to the Flexnerian mode. The Flexner Report of 1910 transformed the nature and process of medical education in America with a resulting elimination of proprietary schools and the establishment of the biomedical model as the gold standard of medical training. Such an orientation had its origins in the enchantment with German medical education that was spurred by the exposure of American educators and physicians at the turn of the century to the university medical schools of Europe. A catching-up is under way to realign the professional commitment of the physician with a revision of medical education to achieve that purpose. The Flexner Report was embraced as the definition of the academic model that was to characterize American medical education up to the present. Its success was importantly assured by the huge financial gifts of the Rockefeller and Carnegie Foundations. The powerful stimulus of philanthropy money also affected the fashion in which medical...
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