need protected time to plan activities associated with implementing and evaluating the reform. However, resources for this purpose are generally lacking (Griner and Danoff, 2000; IOM, 2001a; Meyer et al., 1997). This lack of resources is especially problematic for medical school faculty who want to work on incorporating the behavioral and social sciences into the curriculum, although exceptions do exist. For example, the Social Medicine Department at the UNC School of Medicine receives significant funding from the state legislature for medical education in the behavioral and social sciences, as well as dedicated federal resources through the Area Health Education Center Program. These direct-funding sources ensure the department’s stability, setting it apart from departments at other medical schools that have cited major difficulties regarding the sustainability of their curricular changes in the behavioral and social sciences (Alan Cross, University of North Carolina; Jason Satterfield, UCSF; and Doug Post, Ohio State University, personal communication, September 2003). External funding does not, however, diminish the responsibility of medical schools to provide adequate internal support for the behavioral and social science program. Such support should include adequate core funding, an appropriate organizational “home” for the behavioral and social science faculty, and promotion and tenure criteria that reward accomplishments in the behavioral and social sciences as well as those in the traditional basic sciences and clinical disciplines.

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.

Curriculum Development Awards

Whereas career development awards fund specific individuals, curriculum development awards fund schools to initiate or reform a curriculum. These resources go toward salary support for faculty members working on curriculum development, as well as administrative staff. The funds are often used to offer faculty development workshops that provide training in effective methods of teaching and assessing student competency.

The Health Resources and Services Administration has helped fund several curriculum development initiatives, including the Interdisciplinary Generalist Program, Undergraduate Medical Education for the 21st Century, and Women’s Health in the Medical School Curriculum (HRSA, 2003; Rabinowitz et al., 2001). Similarly, the Nutrition Academic Award Program developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in 1997 awards 5-year grants to applicant U.S. medical schools to encourage the development or enhancement of medical school curricula (NHLBI, 2003c). Although these initiatives are excellent resources for curriculum reform that include components of the behavioral and social sciences, they are not specific to those disciplines.



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