TABLE ES-1 Behavioral and Social Science Topics of High and Medium Priority for Inclusion in Medical School Curricula


High Priority

Medium Priority

Mind–Body Interactions in Health and Disease

  • Biological mediators between psychological and social factors and health

  • Psychological, social, and behavioral factors in chronic disease

  • Psychological and social aspects of human development that influence disease and illness

  • Psychosocial aspects of pain

  • Psychosocial, biological, and management issues in somatization

  • Interaction among illness, family dynamics, and culture

Patient Behavior

  • Health risk behaviors

  • Principles of behavior change

  • Impact of psychosocial stressors and psychiatric disorders on manifestations of other illnesses and on health behavior

Physician Role and Behavior

  • Ethical guidelines for professional behavior

  • Personal values, attitudes, and biases as they influence patient care

  • Physician well-being

  • Social accountability and responsibility

  • Work in health care teams and organizations

  • Use of and linkage with community resources to enhance patient care

Physician–Patient Interactions

  • Basic communication skills

  • Complex communication skills

  • Context of patient’s social and economic situation, capacity for self-care, and ability to participate in shared decision making

  • Management of difficult or problematic physician–patient interactions

Social and Cultural Issues in Health Care

  • Impact of social inequalities in health care and the social factors that are determinants of health outcomes

  • Cultural competency

  • Role of complementary and alternative medicine

Health Policy and Economics

  • Overview of U.S. health care system

  • Economic incentives affecting patients’ health-related behaviors

  • Costs, cost-effectiveness, and physician responses to financial incentives

  • Variations in care

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