Am. J. Hum. Genet. 47:748-749, 1990
EDITORIAL Integrating Genetics into the Medical School Curriculum HUMAN
Carl A. Huether Editor, Human Genetics Education Section
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati
Rodney Harris begins this eleventh issue of the Education Section with a most insightful and encouraging letter to the editor relative to teaching genetics in medical schools. A survey of preclinical and clinical faculty in the 28 British medical schools, who were not geneticists, found considerable support for a variety of genetics topics and skills to be possessed by new medical graduates. On this basis, the Royal College of Physicians' report makes a series of specific recommendations on how to integrate considerably more genetics into the existing curriculum, including its national coordination by a genetic education task group. Given the support found in the survey, this is likely to elicit a good deal of positive reaction. That this is being developed in the United Kingdom should not diminish its importance as a paradigm for U.S. medical schools, given the current maladies commonly shared. As if by magic, in the very next article Ann Swinford and Douglas McKeag present a working model of how to accomplish this exact type of (vertical) integration of genetics using a problem-based curriculum. This recently revised portion of the curriculum at Michigan State University appears to have just the type of approach being recommended by the Royal College of Physicians, at least for the preclinical years. It is a fivequarter sequence of 13 "focal problems," which are designated by major signs or symptoms, and it now includes genetics in each of the 13 units. A considerable amount of genetic thinking and understanding is incorporated through these focal problems, without having to excessively increase factual material or time within the curriculum. Received: May 15, 1990. Address for correspondence and reprints of the entire education section: Carl A. Huether, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0006. 1990 by The American Society of Human Genetics. All rights reserved. 0002-9297/90/4704-0023$02.00
More books are reviewed in this Human Genetics Education section than any previous one. And, according to our reviewers, a good many high-quality books are included, some of which are excellent resource materials for use in a problem-based curriculum such as above. For instance, Margretta Seashore reviews three human genetics textbooks which would qualify nicely. From the strengths she sees in each of them, they will also make life much more pleasant for students and faculty alike in traditional human and medical genetics courses. We asked that the new edition of Genetics: Human Aspects by Mange and Mange be reviewed most extensively, as Sutton's new edition was previously reviewed in this section (Am. J. Hum. Genet. 43 (1988):566-567). This excellent review contrasting both allows us to see some clear distinctions. Principles of Medical Genetics by Gelehrter and Collins is also usefully included in this contrast, but will be reviewed more extensively on its own in the next issue. Another book which seems likely to be useful in a variety of pedagogical settings is Pictorial Human Embryology by Gilbert. Larry Erway gives a very careful and extensive review of this atlas of human development, and concludes that, despite the exclusion of genetic abnormalities and congenital birth defects, this is a solid and useful presentation of normal embryonic development. A book more likely to find usage in the traditional course settings of graduate schools is Principles of Population Genetics by Hartl and Clark. Peter Smouse is clearly convinced this second edition will help to fill a current void in first courses of population genetics, although it is not particularly oriented toward humans. Emanuel Hackel reviews two second-edition general genetics texts which are also not primarily written to cover humans (Principles of Genetics by Fristrom and Clegg; Genetics by Russell), but he too sees these as valuable additions to the available choices.
Education Section has has been "seduced" by six volumes of Genes and Gender. It's hard to imagine his newly proclaimed status as an
In contrast to all of the above, Robert Baumiller not been attracted to review textbooks but, rather,
"unenlightened" male, self-effacing as he is, which can only point to the power of this collection of scholarly papers.