ISEMPH Presentation: Michael Muehlenbein
To understand better how to position evolutionary biology into medical, nursing, public health, and veterinary medicine training programs, four surveys were distributed via email and online advertisements to students and professionals in each of these disciplines. The present analyses represent results from 57 veterinary medicine, 58 nursing, 169 public health, and 343 medicine respondents. The majority were students who never had any course in evolutionary biology, and most had never heard of evolutionary medicine. Most contend that evolutionary biology’s impact on medicine is moderate, although they typically regard it as a fundamental medical science. They report the biggest obstacles for integrating evolutionary biology into health curricula as lack of time, and lack of confidence in evolution's scientific status. Most would take a course in evolutionary medicine if it was offered, but primarily within the context of an elective rather than a pre-requisite or core requirement. Additionally, many report that their religious beliefs influence their practice of medicine, with only 80% accepting that humans evolved from other species. Although this is higher than average Americans recently polled, some lack of acceptance in evolution may continue to be an obstacle in positioning evolutionary biology within health education programs.