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Evaluation of the Family Health Program at Harvard Medical School: A Preliminary Report MCAT

Riche, Charles V.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Family Health Program, Harvard Medical School, Health Resources Survey, Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), Medical Education, Medical History Test, Medical Students, Program Evaluation


A preliminary evaluation of the Harvard Medical School's Family Health and Medical Care Program was conducted. Third and fourth year medical students provided supervised preventive and medical care to local families. It was assumed that students would learn, more effectively than in the traditional curriculum, routine medical care and physician responsibility for complete patient care. It was also hypothesized that the student would become more sensitive to the socioeconomic and psychological factors affecting the physician-patient relationship. The Medical History Test presented tape recorded information of clinical case work-ups, including history, findings of the physical exam and initial laboratory data. Students wrote a brief differential diagnosis and an outline for case management. Scores were reported for medical skills and family health program attitudes. An item from The Health Resource Survey involved writing an ideal treatment situation; scores were recorded for medical skills and socioeconomic factors. Other measures were administered: Harvard's Third Year Comprehensive Examination, Medical College Admission Test, and Allport Vernon Lindzey Study of Values. Verbal fluency word counts were obtained for 19 third-year students; scores were not strongly dependent on word count. Correlations were examined among the measures. Conclusions could not yet be made about the effectiveness of the Family Health Program. The attitude measure was moderately successful; further work on the scoring procedures for the Health Resources Survey was recommended. Work to improve test reliability was indicated for the Medical History Test. Student reaction to the test was positive.

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