Eaglen and Penn point out that baccalaureate–MD programs, by nature of their design, address many of the problems of premedical education which I and others have identified. They also note that since about one quarter of U.S. medical schools offer a baccalaureate–MD option, there is a fertile environment in which to compare the effects of this program with a traditional premedical education. Of course, one of the most difficult challenges will be to develop valid and reliable ways to determine whether students develop into “creative and independent thinkers who have the capability and passion to tackle the most important problems in medicine,” the goal I stressed in my May editorial. Margo et al raise the issue of how premedical requirements may influence the recruitment of students who are more or less likely to choose a certain career pathway. I agree that this is an important area in need of further research. Kahn reminds us that premedical education is one part of a continuum and that there is value in examining reform across the spectrum of medical education. And Pisano encourages those of us who write about the need for reform to “get started” as soon as possible, and recommends that the AAMC play a role. I agree with Pisano that wonderful ideas are not enough, but must be complemented by fine deeds.
In addition to these letters, I received a number of informal responses, both verbal and written, to my call for renewed attention to the quality of premedical education. I am delighted to see that a discussion about reforming premedical education is gaining momentum.
Steven L. Kanter, MD
Editor, Academic Medicine, and vice dean, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA. Correspondence: Academic Medicine, 2450 N Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037; ([email protected]).