Developing a Curricular Mapping Evaluation of Altruism, Compassion, and Empathy (ACE) in the Pre-Clinical Years at a Southern School of Medicine
Janet Armitage, PhD, Associate Professor, St. Mary's University
A recent development in the field of medicine is the integration or re-integration of altruism, compassion, and empathy (ACE) in healthcare to prioritize the emotional and spiritual wellbeing of patients. It has emerged in response to scholarly research that suggests attending to the “whole” person contributes to a patient’s health and wellbeing. Although the practice of medicine in the U.S. has made great technological advancements, these strides have come at a cost, one in which the body is reduced to an object, a machine, devoid of the person living in that body (Sullins, 2014). According to Sullins (2014), conditions are treated, and treated with excellence, however, the person is not treated well; this exclusion of the person results in loss of human dignity. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has responded favorably and made recommendations for U.S. medical schools to incorporate ACE training as part of students’ professionalization. While a majority of medical schools have made curricular changes, the inclusion of such content is emergent and often under-evaluated, hence the urgency to tease out its presence and determine its level of transparency to relevant stakeholders. Our proposed curricular mapping evaluation is ideally suited to recognize its presence and transparency as well as its value in a southern medical school’s preclinical curriculum. As Eikeland (2014) noted, ACE educational objectives may remain at odds with, and, in turn, hidden by the perceived or actual priorities of technical expertise. Aligned with best practices for curricular mapping in medicine (Zelintsky, 2014), our evidence will be used to identify relationships between curricular elements as well as practical assessment solutions to promote the education of “altruistic physicians” in a student-centered/patient-centered model.