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Teaching Humanities at the National University of La Plata, Argentina

Acuña, Leopoldo E. MD, PhD

Special Theme Article: International

In this article the author begins by giving a brief history of medical education in Argentina, then provides some background information on the National University of La Plata. He describes two major initiatives at La Plata: a new and pioneering admission policy (implemented in 1993) and a change in the number of hours and years in the curriculum. He then looks back to the introduction in 1976 of La Plata’s medical humanities program. Over its 20 year existence, the program has undergone a number of changes in response both to students’ interests and financial concerns. The revised humanities curriculum now consists of four elective courses: medicine and literature, anthropology, history of medicine, and “medical kalology” (which focuses on music and dance). Unfortunately, the program, while it has been well received by both students and faculty and has inspired programs at other Argentinean schools, is threatened by Argentina’s economic crisis.

Dr. Acuña is chairman of medical humanities, National University of La Plata School of Medicine, Argentina.

Correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to Dr. Acuña, Chairman of Medical Humanities, School of Medicine, National University of La Plata, República Argentina, Calle 60 y 120 La Plata (1900); telephone/fax: (54 0221) 427-0795; e-mail: 〈solmayor@netverk.com.ar〉.

This article is a significantly revised version of an article that appeared in Journal of Medical Ethics in 2000: Acuña LE. Don’t Cry for Us Argentinians: Two Decades of Teaching Medical Humanities. J Med Ethics. 2000;26:66-70.

© 2003 Association of American Medical Colleges