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Abbravation: TBV – Tijdschrift voor Bedrijfs- en Verzekeringsgeneeskunde

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Occupational medicine in the basic curriculum

Authors: Petar Bulat,

Publish Date: 2013/02/22
Volume: 16, Issue:10, Pages: 432-436
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Even if there are a limited number of publications on occupational medicine (OM) teaching in the basic medical curriculum, it is obvious that in OM teaching there are substantial differences on the national as well as the international level. In a number of countries there are schools of medicine that do not provide OM teaching at all, or only 1–2 hours which has about the same effect. On the other hand, and mainly in former Eastern European countries, OM plays a much more significant role in curricula with 30 to 45 hours, up to 60 hours of education.Apart from the number of hours there are large differences in topics covered during OM teaching. In some countries, or more precisely in some universities, the focus of OM teaching is on classical occupational diseases with little or no hours spent on prevention. It might be worrying that only a limited number of universities provides teaching on occupational health risks in the health care sector.It is also important to mention differences in practical teaching of OM and in examination. Some universities provide only classical ex cathedra teaching while the others are offering seminars, practicing and OM internships. The examination of OM varies from none (in most universities) to a written plus an oral examination (e.g. Italy and Serbia). There is a number of different options for OM teaching in the future. OM could be a standalone course or a part of occupational and environmental health. There is also a nice opportunity for incorporating part of OM teaching (concerning occupational and work-related diseases as well as to work capacity assessment) in other clinical disciplines.Based on the presented facts it is obvious that OM teaching is being neglected and even downsized in a number of universities. On the other hand there is an increasing need for OM knowledge in the daily practice of medical doctors. So there is much work to do for national occupational health leaders, as well as for international occupational health organizations such as the International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH), the WHO and others. They can present this issue to local university authorities and help them to develop appropriate OM curricula. There is an obvious need for more and intense international collaboration in developing OM core curricula, which might be organized with the ICOH and WHO sponsorship.



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