Medicine now faces complex societal problems like addiction, obesity, violence, and end-of-life care, which require behavioral and social science research and interventions. To take advantage of enormous medical breakthroughs, people must trust, afford,
and have meaningful access to health care. Improving the health of the public involves addressing health disparities and ensuring patient safety, as well as engaging the social and political aspects of health care governance, financing, and delivery.
Behavioral and social science research and practice have generated significant improvements in the health of the public, reduced tobacco use and diet modifi- cations being two prominent examples. Our deepening understanding of mind/ body interactions and effective methods of changing health behavior have also led to health improvements. Biobehavioral approaches are effective in treating mental illness and substance abuse, and in managing chronic illness. The sights of behavioral and social sciences in health care are set on learning theory's contribution to neurological disease, memory research, gene-environment interactions, and influences of social integration on health (1). The sciences that undergird these areas of improvement and promise are critical ingredients in the training of future physicians.
A complete medical education must include, alongside the physical and biological science, the perspectives and findings that flow from the behavioral and social sciences. Medical educators now face the challenge of how best to teach
behavioral and social sciences to students and professionals. Physicians fortified with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes outlined in this report will be equipped to provide outstanding patient care, address unanswered questions about human health, and fulfill the mandate to improve the public's health. The panel offers the recommendations
that follow to guide medical educators in fulfilling their duties toward students and the patients who entrust to us their care.