Policies on Reproductive Health in Medical Education
Excerpt from AMWA Position Paper on Reproductive Health
Health Care Provider Education
Although U.S. medical schools provide adequate training in obstetrics and gynecological services, all too often they fail to adequately cover family planning, primary care for infertility, and sexually transmitted disease treatment and prevention. Most provide little, if any, training on abortion.
In 1995, the AAMC conducted a survey that found very few medical schools teach the following topics as a separate required course or elective: conception control, adolescent pregnancy/parenting, causes and consequences of infertility, taking a sexual and reproductive history, HIV testing/ counseling, and pregnancy testing/counseling. Even fewer schools teach abortion as a separate required course and a little more than half teach abortion procedures as part of a required course.
AMWA promotes programs that encourage medical education institutions, medical educators, and health care providers to make information on reproductive health available to their patients and colleagues, and continually assess their capacity to teach and deliver comprehensive reproductive health care. Medical schools should effectively train physicians and other health care professionals to provide the full range of reproductive health services in a manner that is responsive to the public health and individual needs of people.
We support health care training that: expands medical school curricula to fully address reproductive health; broadens training in the detection and treatment of violence; increases specialized rotations for medical students and residents; and provides training on abortion services to every future physician; and, improves contraceptive research and training on the use of contraceptive methods including emergency contraception. Medical training also should be designed to increase medical professionals' understanding of and ability to address psychosocial factors such as culture, education, employment, and economic status, as potential determinants of the general health and well-being of people.
We support and actively work to improve reproductive health education and training for health professionals offered at medical schools worldwide. We support and actively participate in efforts to improve reproductive health through the development and dissemination of curricula, and by promoting education and exchange programs for medical students and physicians and other health professionals between the U.S. and their counterparts in other countries.