Research Scientist

Educating Future Physicians

shutterstock_172121552By Bejamin Kligler, MD
As Medical Advisor to the Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center
®, I have had the chance to get involved on the ground floor with the new Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, which is graduating its first class of students this year. In particular, we were able to create an environmental health module as part of the Human Dimensions course offered at the school, which is where students learn about the art and science of medicine and how to be a broad-minded physician with an awareness of the many social and environmental issues, which affect their patients.

This module involves both a lecture format and an experiential learning approach, in which students were asked to explore environmental  exposures in their own lives as well as in the lives of the patient families they partner with in the HD course. Using a survey tool, we were able to document that at the close of the module, students felt significantly more competent and prepared to address environmental issues in their future work with patients. The development of this module, as well as the survey results were published in the journal BMC Medical Education last year, and the curriculum materials are available on line for other medical educators interested in replicating the approach.
In addition to environmental health, I was able to assist the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine faculty in launching a curriculum in complementary and integrative health for the students as well. This past year we had one session on how to communicate with patients on the subject of complementary therapies, and another on the evidence for complementary and integrative health approaches in pain management. There is a great deal of interest in this subject among the students, and significant potential for expanding this curriculum area in the future.
Dr._KliglerDr. Kligler is the Medical Advisor for The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center®. He is also the National Director of the Integrative Health Coordinating Center for the Veterans Health Administration and Research Director for the Office of Patient Centered Care & Cultural Transformation. He was the founding  Director  of the Beth Israel Fellowship Program in Integrative Medicine, and teaches in the Beth Israel Residency Program in Urban Family Practice. Dr. Kligler is the author of Curriculum in Complementary Therapies: A Guide for the Medical Educator, and co-editor of Integrative Medicine: Principles for Practice, a textbook published by McGraw-Hill. He is also Co-Editor-in-Chief of the peer-reviewed journal Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing.
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