AMS Launches Statewide Initiative To Focus Doctors On End-Of-Life Care

August 04, 1997

The Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMS), comprised of the 14 medical schools in the State of New York, announced a new initiative to focus the medical community on end-of-life care. It is estimated between 65-80 percent of all deaths occur in a hospital setting and that health care providers are the primary care-givers leading up to death. AMS will form a committee in a statewide collaborative effort to strengthen the training of future physicians on the issue of death and dying.

According to published research future doctors may benefit from new palliative care curriculums at medical schools and in residency programs. The article, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine says that such programs may help change attitudes toward death and help focus on end of life care.

"Medical Schools do an excellent job of training physicians to manage disease and prevent death, but the curriculums give inadequate attention to the emotional and ethical issues surrounding end-of-life care," says Herbert Pardes, M.D., president of the Associated Medical Schools and vice president for Health Sciences and dean of Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. "This is the first effort in the country organized on a statewide basis to examine and ultimately impact the end-of-life issue."

Dr. Pardes said a committee of the Associated Medical Schools would be appointed within the next two weeks to begin this task. "Some New York based medical schools have begun looking at the way end-of-life career is taught," said Dr. Pardes. "However, this effort will permit us to collect input form all New York medical schools and share experiences and resources to design a set of recommendations that would be useful for all the schools."

AMS is a consortium of the deans of the 14 New York medical schools, public and private. New York trains more than 10 percent of the medical students and produces about 15 percent of all doctors in the United States.

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Columbia University Medical Center

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