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Logo of bmcmeduBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Medical Education
BMC Med Educ. 2012; 12: 78.
Published online Aug 18, 2012. doi:  10.1186/1472-6920-12-78
PMCID: PMC3502099
Spirituality and health in the curricula of medical schools in Brazil
Giancarlo Lucchetti,corresponding author1,2,3 Alessandra Lamas Granero Lucchetti,1 Daniele Corcioli Mendes Espinha,1 Leandro Romani de Oliveira,1,2 José Roberto Leite,2 and Harold G Koenig4,5
1São Paulo Medical Spiritist Association, Av. Juriti, 367 apto 131 – Moema, São Paulo, SP, CEP: 04520-000, Brazil
2Federal University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
3João Evangelista Hospital, São Paulo, Brazil
4Duke University Medical Center, Durham, USA
5King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Giancarlo Lucchetti: g.lucchetti/at/; Alessandra Lamas Granero Lucchetti: alelamasgranero/at/; Daniele Corcioli Mendes Espinha: makete_3/at/; Leandro Romani de Oliveira: leandro/at/; José Roberto Leite: jrleite/at/; Harold G Koenig: koenig/at/
Received March 23, 2012; Accepted August 15, 2012.
According to recent surveys, 59% of British medical schools and 90% of US medical schools have courses or content on spirituality and health (S/H). There is little research, however, on the teaching of S/H in medical schools in other countries, such as those in Latin America, Asia, Australia and Africa. The present study seeks to investigate the current status of teaching on S/H in Brazilian medical schools.
All medical schools in Brazil (private and public) were selected for evaluation, were contacted by email and phone, and were administered a questionnaire. The questionnaire, sent by e-mail, asked medical school directors/deans about any S/H courses that were taught, details about those courses, S/H lectures or seminars, importance of teaching this subject for medical school directors, and medical schools characteristics.
A total of 86 out of 180 (47.7%) medical schools responded. Results indicated that 10.4% of Brazilian Medical Schools have a dedicated S/H courses and 40.5% have courses or content on spirituality and health. Only two medical schools have S/H courses that involve hands-on training and three schools have S/H courses that teach how to conduct a spiritual history. The majority of medical directors (54%) believe that S/H is important to teach in their schools.
Few Brazilian medical schools have courses dealing specifically with S/H and less than half provide some form of teaching on the subject. Unfortunately, there is no standard curriculum on S/H. Nevertheless, the majority of medical directors believe this issue is an important subject that should be taught.
Keywords: Spirituality, Religion, Medical education, Medical schools, Medical students
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