Social science in medicine: The question of ‘relevance’

James W. Begun, Patricia P. Rieker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Social science differs from the other basic medical sciences in that its perspective for understanding illness is not centered on processes within the individual. For this reason the relevance of social science knowledge to clinical practice is not obvious to many medical educators and students. Initial efforts at the University of North Carolina to develop a social science curriculum that is obviously relevant are described. Strategies include the use of small-group seminars taught by social-scientist/clinician teams and an organizing framework which links social science knowledge to clinical practice. Response to the curriculum from faculty and students has been encouraging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-185
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Medical Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1980


  • Curriculum
  • Education, medical, undergraduate
  • North carolina
  • Social sciences (education)
  • Teaching (methods)


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