Klemow, K.M. 1992. ECOLOGY FOR PRE-MEDS: WHAT PHYSICIANS PRESCRIBE. Contributed paper: Pennsylvania Academy of Science meeting. Abstract: Journal of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science 65:186.
Undergraduate students interested in attending medical school often take several biology courses before graduating. Those students frequently prefer courses in cellular/molecular biology and mammalian anatomy and physiology. Courses at the supra-organismal level, particularly ecology, are often regarded as having little relevance for pre-meds and are often avoided. To determine whether ecology should indeed be part of the pre-med curriculum, a national survey of physicians was conducted during the summer of 1991. Fewer than half of the respondents recalled taking any courses that included ecology as undergraduates; not even in their introductory biology course. Of those who did take ecology courses, most reported being either very interested in the topic, or being interested in some aspects of ecology, but not in others. Most physicians agreed that current pre-meds should be required to learn basic ecological principles, but disagreed as to whether pre-meds should take advanced coursework in ecology. The physicians generally thought that the ecology courses taken by pre-meds should include health-related applications of ecology. The physicians' opinions should be noted by biology departments and ecology instructors alike.