Abraham Flexner

Easton Press Abraham Flexner books

Medical Education in The United States and Canada : A Report To The Carnegie
Foundation For The Advancement of Teaching - Books That Changed The World - 1994


Abraham Flexner biography

Abraham Flexner, born on November 13, 1866, in Louisville, Kentucky, was an American educator and reformer whose name is closely associated with the transformation of medical education in the United States. His pioneering work laid the foundation for the modern medical education system and significantly impacted the standards of healthcare training. Flexner came from a family of German-Jewish immigrants and was the third of six children. Despite facing financial difficulties, he pursued education passionately, attending Johns Hopkins University and graduating in 1886. Flexner then worked as a teacher and a college preparatory school principal, developing an interest in education reform.

In 1908, Abraham Flexner published the influential report titled Medical Education in the United States and Canada, commissioned by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. This landmark study assessed the state of medical education in North America, revealing widespread inadequacies, inconsistencies, and substandard practices. Flexner's report recommended sweeping reforms, emphasizing the importance of scientific rigor, laboratory training, and adherence to rigorous standards in medical education. The Flexner Report had a profound impact on medical education, leading to a significant overhaul of medical schools across the United States and Canada. Many institutions closed or merged in response to the report's recommendations, and those that remained underwent substantial restructuring to align with modern educational standards.

Flexner's advocacy extended beyond medical education. He also contributed to the reform of higher education in general, emphasizing the importance of research-oriented universities. His ideas influenced the development of the American university system, emphasizing a commitment to academic rigor and scientific inquiry. Throughout his career, Abraham Flexner was involved in various educational and philanthropic initiatives. He co-founded the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1930, a renowned center for theoretical research where scholars like Albert Einstein and Kurt Gödel made significant contributions.

Abraham Flexner's legacy is profound, particularly in the field of medical education. His commitment to elevating the standards of education and emphasizing scientific principles has left an enduring mark on the training of healthcare professionals. Flexner passed away on September 21, 1959, but his impact on education, particularly in the realm of medical training, remains a testament to his vision and dedication to reform.


Medical Education In The United States And Canada - A Report To The Carnegie Foundation For The Advancement Of Teaching

The Flexner Report-Medical Education in the United States and Canada (1910) by Abraham Flexner is the foundation for medical education today. The report was developed to investigate American medical schools and provide standards for them since few guidelines were in place in the early twentieth century. The American Medical Association contracted with the Carnegie Foundation to conduct the study and chose an educator, Flexner, as its leader. The author personally visited over 150 medical institutions and, in some cases, harshly described the conditions which consequently forced the closure of numerous schools. This book-length report is an intriguing read for anyone curious about the foundations of medical education.

"The improvement of medical education cannot therefore be resisted on the ground that it will destroy schools and restrict that is precisely what is needed." Abraham Flexner, The Flexner Report (1910)


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