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