Flexner Report

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Latest Edit: Iva 2011-08-06 (EDT)

In 1904, the American Medical Association established a Council on Medical Education and it, along with the Rockefeller and Carnegie Foundation, hired an educator to do a report on the medical schools in America. The purpose of the report was to establish standards and a certifying body as the current medical schools and the health care system were viewed as disorganized with diverse standards. In a matter of months, Abraham Flexner reviewed 186 conventional medical schools assigning them a rating. In 1910 the Flexner Report was released which greatly changed medical education in America. Although the report was aimed at the quality of allopthic medical education, it also included sections that discredited botanical, hydrotherapy and homeopathic treatments.

Federal, public, and private funds were channelled to select institutions as a result of the Flexner report recommendations. Those institutions that emphasized science-based medicine, drug therapy and surgery received funding; those schools which found themselves philosophically opposed to this emerging paradigm did not. Notably, many millions of dollars were poured into the allopathic schools and hospitals, while the homeopathic, naturopathic, chiropractic, osteopathic, and few surviving eclectic colleges and hospitals were left to fend for themselves. The Canadian medical system and schools soon followed suit.

In the early 1900s there were 186 allopathic, 22 homeopathic, about 20 naturopathic and at least 30 other chiropractic and osteopathic institutes of higher learning. By 1927 there were less than a dozen naturopathic schools. Many of the naturopathic and chiropractic colleges merged in order to survive. By the mid 1950s over half of the allopathic schools, all of the homeopathic, most of the chiropractic and osteopathic schools and all of the original naturopathic schools had been closed.