Behavioral Science Revisited: The Art and the Science

Johanna Shapiro, PhD

Behavioral science continues to play an ambiguous, problematic, but key role in the training of family physicians. At this point in the history of family medicine, both dangers and opportunities await the upcoming generation of behavioral scientists. What are the truly unique contributions which behavioral science can make to family medicine? What are the educational and research priorities which behavioral science faculty should advocate and emphasize? In future decades, behavioral scientists must learn to respond to the technologic, rationalistic pressures of the traditional medical establishment, as well as to assume more active leadership roles in teaching and research. In particular, it is crucial for behavioral science faculty to conscientiously develop the relationship between behavioral science teaching and art of medicine issues, which have long been neglected in formal medical curricula. Continued examination and definition of the role of the behavioral scientist is essential in order to promote a truly collaborative and dynamic relationship between behavioral science and family medicine.

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