Behavioral and Social Science Consortium for Medical Education

The Behavioral and Social Science Consortium for Medical Education was launched in a response to a 2004 report, Improving Medical Education: Enhancing the Behavioral and Social Science Content of Medical School Curricula, by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine – Health and Medicine Division (formerly the Institute of Medicine). The report found medical school curricula as a whole, lacked appropriate emphasis on teaching medical students the importance of behavioral and social science applied to patient care. The Consortium, comprised of medical schools from across the United States, was tasked with identifying and overcoming barriers to implementation related to integrating behavioral and social science education into medical school curricula.

Considering nearly half of all deaths in the United States are linked to behavioral and social factors, more emphasis was required to teach physicians how to respond and address all aspects of patient care, not just clinical symptoms. Although behavioral and social sciences fields have contributed significant knowledge to areas of disease prevention, behavior change, and health interventions the translation and incorporation of these findings into standard medical practice has been less than successful.

This website features findings, curricula, and best practices as developed by the Behavioral and Social Science Consortium for Medical Education. Research took place over the course of 10 years and two rounds of funding by the National Institutes of Health Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research (OBSSR). The Consortium represents a collaboration of sixteen medical schools who implemented BSS educational innovations into undergraduate medical education and training in the following three areas:

Themes of Educational Innovation:

1) Innovations in Physician/Patient Communication

Focuses on three curriculum innovations designed to enhance physician-patient communication by teaching 1) “value-based care” and Choosing Wisely, 2) how to improve communication with patients while using electronic health records (EHRs) and telemedicine, and 3) identifying behavioral and social science teaching opportunities hospital settings

2) Innovations in Professional Development and Reflective Narrative Writing in the Behavioral and Social Sciences

Focuses on curriculum innovations designed to encourage professional development in the behavioral and social sciences through 1) narrative and reflective writing, 2) cross-disciplinary faculty development and collaborative teaching, and 3) greater perspective taking using narrative medicine

3) Innovations in Interprofessional Education

Focuses on innovations in interprofessional education. Presentations examine 1) current ways in which schools integrate behavioral and social sciences through IPE, and 2) share best practices learned from integrating IPE into core medical school curriculum