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New Pathways to Medical Education

New Pathways to Medical Education

Learning to Learn at Harvard Medical School

Edited by Daniel C. Tosteson, S. James Adelstein, and Susan T. Carver

ISBN 9780674617391

Publication date: 12/17/1994

Medicine in the twenty-first century will be very different from the medicine of today; scientific, technological, economic, and ethical conditions of practice will be transformed. What do these changes portend for medical education? What knowledge should all medical students acquire? How can medical educators prepare students in the most cost-effective way?

This book describes efforts made at Harvard Medical School during the past to reorient general medical education. Harvard’s New Pathway has received national attention since its inception—including a multipart special on PBS’s Nova—because it offers a radical restructuring of the traditional medical school curriculum. Its creators, most of them contributors to this book, designed a program that gives students not only a core of scientific, biomedical, and clinical knowledge but also the skills, tools, and attitudes that will enable them to become lifelong learners, to cope with and use new information, and—most important—to provide better patient care.

New Pathways to Medical Education also tells the inside story of how a traditional and research-oriented faculty was persuaded to cooperate with colleagues outside their departments in adopting a student-centered, problem-based approach to learning. Central to this transformation was the Patient–Doctor course, which the book describes in detail. This course—which teaches students to LISC the patient–doctor relationship for the benefit of patients—is considered one of the most significant contributions to medical education in the New Pathway.

New Pathways to Medical Education will inspire physicians, medical scientists, and medical educators around the world to think and act more decisively to reform medical education. And because it documents the development of an innovative curriculum, this study will interest educators in all fields.


  • This book is a substantial contribution to the medical education literature. It should appeal to medical educators and those students of organized change who have an interest in changing the behavior of institutions of higher learning.

    —Edward J. Stemmler, M.D., Executive Vice President, American Association of Medical Colleges


  • Daniel C. Tosteson, M.D., was Dean of Harvard Medical School.
  • S. James Adelstein, Ph.D., M.D., is Paul C. Cabot Distinguished Professor of Medical Biophysics at Harvard Medical School.
  • Susan T. Carver, M.D., is Lecturer on Medicine and Special Assistant to the Executive Dean for Academic Programs at Harvard Medical School.

Book Details

  • 208 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press