Periodicities in societal systems behaviors: relationships of economies, generations, and technologies to reforms in medical education
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As medical educators strive to produce qualified physicians who are able to meet societal needs, the medical education system must continually reform itself to meet the demands of that changing society. Understanding the interactions between medical education and surrounding societal behaviors is essential for improvement of the medical education process. Reforms in medical education provide for constructive adaptation in the educational system's process, content, and organization. Three societal systems that impact medicine and medical education include economics, generations, and technology. Change occurs periodically within these systems, producing cyclical or pulsatile patterns of behavior. Numerous studies have analyzed generational cycles to describe changes in dominant attitudes and values (Strauss and Howe, Schlesinger), economic waves to describe behavior of economies (Arrighi, Screpanti), and invention-innovation cycles to describe patterns in technological advancement (Devezas, Marchetti). In seeking to discover how medical education responds to such societal changes, this research analyzes past educational reforms in the context of concurrent social environments. By discovering temporal connections between cyclical behaviors of societal systems and specific reforms in medical education, putative cause and effect relationships may be proposed. As social systems repeat their behaviors, knowledge of medical education's past responses can shed light on current interactions. This type of information can support educators and decision-makers responsible for cultivating medical educational institutions and medical curricula.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 20-21).
Kinra, Reva Elaine (2002). Periodicities in societal systems behaviors: relationships of economies, generations, and technologies to reforms in medical education. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from