special challenge because of the nature of the content, the lack of faculty members in these disciplines, the lower status accorded to these disciplines by some in the medical school community, the lack of departmental status for behavioral and social science faculty, and the limited leadership and financial resources available to support such efforts.
Curriculum change rarely occurs without a champion or leader pushing the agenda forward. A well-supported career development program in the behavioral and social sciences would free promising faculty members from competing responsibilities so they could develop leadership skills and work toward incorporating the behavioral and social sciences into medical school curricula. Individuals receiving career development awards could also serve as resources to assist other medical schools attempting to enhance their behavioral and social science curricula.
Conclusion 3. Instruction in the behavioral and social sciences suffers from a lack of qualified faculty, inadequate support and incentives for existing faculty, and the absence of career development programs in the behavioral and social sciences.
Recommendation 3. Establish a career development award strategy. Because the provision of career development awards has been an effective strategy for improving instruction and research in other health-related areas, the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research of the National Institutes of Health or private foundations, or both, should establish a career development awards program to produce leaders in the behavioral and social sciences in medical schools.
In addition to career development awards designed to produce medical school leaders in the behavioral and social sciences, the committee believes there is a need for a program of curriculum development awards. One major purpose of these awards would be to fund the development of model behavioral and social science curricula that could be emulated at other schools. Another major purpose, of course, would be to improve the behavioral and social science curriculum at the school receiving the award. Specifically, the award would enable a medical school to develop more-effective teaching techniques and create better ways of assessing student performance in the behavioral and social sciences. Such awards could also provide funding for a broad-based program of faculty development in the behavioral and social sciences, including both basic science and clinical faculty members.
Conclusion 4. Financial support for efforts by U.S. medical schools to improve their curricular content, teaching methodologies, and assessment of student performance in the behavioral and social sciences is inadequate.