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St. Louis University Battles Depression in Med Students

Fred Bodimer
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Photo: JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD/AFP/Getty Images

Photo: JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD/AFP/Getty Images

fred-bodimer Fred Bodimer
Fred Bodimer joined KMOX in 1982 after graduating from the University...
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A curriculum change at St. Louis University Medical School is leading to less depression and more learning.

According to SLU Med School Associate Dean of Curriculum Dr. Stuart Slavin, 20 to 30 percent of medical students nationwide meet criteria for depression.

That, he says, is an unbelievable number.

The competition for grades and residency programs caused depression from stress and anxiety from learning large amounts of material. Slavin says that in an effort to comabt this, the SLU Medical School made a big curriculum change four years ago.

“For the first two years of medical school which is really classroom-based work, we’ve moved from letter grades to pass/fail with significant improve in the mental health of our students,” Slavin says.

He says that it is much more important to grade students during their clinical years, when performance really matters, and not so much during the first two years.

Since the curriculum change, Slavin says that the depression in their medical students have decreased from 27 to 30 percent to 11 percent today.

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