An integrated humanities-social sciences course in health sciences education: Proposed design, effectiveness, and associated factors

Jihyun Lee, Jueyeun Lee, Il Young Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Previous research has not provided enough direction regarding effective content design of courses integrating the humanities and social sciences in medical and dental education. This study aims at exploring how an Integrated Medical/Dental Humanities-Social Medicine/Dentistry course may be designed; how effective it may be in terms of student growth in knowledge, attitudes, skills, and aspirations; and associated factors. Methods: The course was designed by distilling commonalities in the international standards for medical/dental education proposed by seven major health organizations. This analysis resulted in a curriculum covering nine major topics: history, professionalism, communication, ethics, management, policy, insurance, law, and research methodology. During the 2017 calendar year, data was collected and statistically analyzed from 68 third-year pre-doctoral students enrolled in the resulting MDHS 13-week course. Results: Participants showed growth in skills, aspirations, knowledge, and attitudes, with the greatest change occurring in skills, then aspirations, knowledge, and attitudes. Knowledge growth was the only variable significantly related to student achievement of course objectives (β = 0.635, t (63) = 3.394, p = 0.001). The topics that students perceived as most critical were insurance, policy, management, and law. The perceived importance of research was most common among participants and was significantly related to all learning outcomes (For knowledge, β = 0.213, t (63) = 2.203, p = 0.031; for attitudes, β = 0.784, t (63) = 10.257, p = 0.000; for skills, β = 0.769, t (63) = 9.772, p = 0.000; and aspirations β = 0.639, t (63) = 7.595, p = 0.000). Conclusions: This study proposed a framework for humanities-social sciences education in health sciences education and analyzed its implementation. The empirical evaluation of its effectiveness and factors related to successful outcomes found that students perceived gains in their knowledge, attitudes, skills, and aspirations for humanistic and social aspects of dentistry/medicine. In addition, their recognition of the importance of research was associated with the greatest growth in all four learning outcomes. This study may contribute to the improved design of integrated humanities-social sciences courses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117
JournalBMC medical education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Apr 19

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (NRF-2017R1C1B2010469) and, in part, by the Dental Research Institute of Seoul National University. The funding bodies played no role in the design of the study, the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, or in the writing of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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