spirituality and medicine:
curriculum development project


Spirituality in US medical schools


In 1993, less that 4% of America's medical schools had courses on religion, spirituality and health. By 2000, this had risen to 52%, and by 2004 to 67%. There are a number of reasons for this dramatic increase.

In 1999 the Association of American Medical Colleges conducted a project to define what medical schools should be seeking to achieve: the Medical Schools Objectives Project. This produced several reports, including one on communication skills (MSOP III), which in turn included a task force report on Spirituality, cultural issues and end of life care. This task force report identified a number of key learning objectives in the area of spirituality applicable to all US medical students, encouraging all schools to implement teaching in this area.

In 1995 a programme of awards was set up through the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health, funded by the John Templeton Foundation. $50,000 is awarded over a four-year period to schools developing courses in spirituality and health, which has no doubt provided an incentive to a number of schools to develop this area of their curriculum.


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The Spirituality and Medicine Curriculum Development Project is funded by the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry.