Capsule

How the 1960s affected the School of Medicine

The Vietnam War and the civil rights movement led students to question the School of Medicine’s curriculum and policies.

The Yale School of Medicine was not immune to the student protests that gripped the country in the 1960s and early 1970s. Opposition to the Vietnam War and increasing criticism of social injustice led to questioning of the medical school’s curriculum and administrative policies, culminating in a student strike in the spring of 1970.In September 1968, the school had yielded to students’ desire for more flexibility and compressed the time allotted to preclinical and clinical instruction, leaving the fourth year open for electives. The thesis, required for the Yale medical degree since 1839, seemed archaic to students eager to shift the emphasis in their education from research to healing and activism, but the...

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