Media Advisory

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A new MCAT for tomorrow’s physician

Building a better physician through behavioral and social sciences.


The Case for the New Medical College Admission Test: Why the MCAT must reflect physicians’ current public health challenges. A Perspective in The New England Journal of Medicine.


The authors, Drs. Robert M. Kaplan, NIH; Jason M. Satterfield, University of California, San Francisco; and Raynard S. Kington, Grinnell College, support the new MCAT. They are available to discuss:

  • Why do future physicians need to understand patients' social, environmental, personal characteristics and complex health care systems, as well as their biology?
  • Why must future physicians understand the ways in which culture and social differences influence well-being?
  • Why do future physicians need to consider socio-economic factors in access to health care?
  • How will the section on behavioral and social sciences, capture preparedness in these areas among medical school applications?
  • How will the new MCAT affect the undergraduate school curriculum? Will it affect the curriculum in medical schools?


Half of all premature deaths in the U.S. can be attributed to a few modifiable behaviors such as smoking, poor diet, and physical inactivity. Knowledge about behavioral and social sciences is critical to practicing effective medicine, as studies demonstrate the value of cognitive and behavioral interventions in treating mental illness, substance abuse and chronic diseases


The New England Journal of Medicine, April 5, 2012.


For interviews with:
Dr. Robert M. Kaplan, NIH, contact Ann Benner.
Dr. Raynard Kington, Grinnell, contact Jim Reische, (641) 269-3404 or
Dr. Satterfield, UCSF School of Medicine, contact

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) opened officially on July 1, 1995. The U.S. Congress established the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) in the Office of the Director, NIH, in recognition of the key role that behavioral and social factors often play in illness and health. The OBSSR mission is to stimulate behavioral and social sciences research throughout NIH and to integrate these improving our understanding, treatment, and prevention of disease. For more information, please visit

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®