HHMI-AAMC Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians report

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The AAMC and HHMI convened a group of scientists, physicians, and science educators from small colleges, large universities, and medical schools around the United States to determine the most important scientific competencies required of students graduating from college prior to matriculating into medical school as well as the scientific competencies required of medical school graduates as they enter postgraduate training. The group, known as the Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians (SFFP) Committee, was charged to:

  • Consider the means and consequences of establishing the concept of “science competency” (learner performance), rather than academic courses, as the basis for assessing the preparation of medical school applicants and the proficiency of medical school graduates.
  • Recommend the specific competencies in the sciences fundamental to medicine that all medical students should demonstrate before receiving the M.D. degree.
  • Identify the scientific competencies that premedical students should demonstrate before entry into medical school. Emphasis should be on defined areas of knowledge, scientific concepts, and skills rather than on specific courses or disciplines.
  • Propose strategies for achieving the recommended science competencies across the educational experience of students pursuing the M.D. degree, while recognizing that the competencies will continue to evolve.
  • Recommend approaches to update the list of science competencies as knowledge, learner needs, and medical practice change.

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Alpern, R. J., et al. "Scientific foundations for future physicians." Report of the AAMC-HHMI Committee. Association of American Medical Colleges. Washington, DC (2009).


Atteh Akoto

University of Pittsburgh