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Open Access Research article

Changes in medicine course curricula in Brazil encouraged by the Program for the Promotion of Medical School Curricula (PROMED)

Patrícia Alves de Souza1, Angélica Maria Bicudo Zeferino1* and Marco Da Aurélio Ros2

Author Affiliations

1 Graduate Program in Child and Adolescent Health of the Faculty of Medical Sciences (FCM), the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Campinas, Brazil

2 Departament of Public Health, University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), Florianópolis, Brazil

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BMC Medical Education 2008, 8:54  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-8-54

Published: 27 November 2008



The Program for the Promotion of Changes in Medical School Curricula (PROMED) was developed by the Brazilian Ministries of Health and Education. The objective of this program was to finance the implementation of changes to the curricula of medical schools directed towards the Brazilian national healthcare system (SUS). This paper reports research carried out together with the coordinators responsible for the PROMED of each medical school approved, in which interviews were used to evaluate whether this financial support succeeded in stimulating changes. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of this program three years after implementation in the universities that received funding.


The 19 course coordinators of the medical schools in which the PROMED project was implemented were interviewed using a questionnaire containing 12 questions for qualitative analysis. This paper focuses partially on the reports of the results of this qualitative analysis. Laurence Bardin's.


The universities interviewed were found to have some common concerns: the decoupling of basic and professional training difficulties in achieving proximity to the network of services; insufficient funding; and the emphasis of most teachers being on teaching hospitals and specialization. These findings indicate that the direction of curriculum reform (PROMED) is toward providing a targeted training for this system.


The interviewees were aware that this program would trigger future changes in all aspects of healthcare and represents an ongoing challenge to the academic field. PROMED provided the momentum for change in the nature of medical training in Brazil and was seen as powerful enough to override other processes and as a basis for guidance regarding the methodology, pedagogical approach and scenarios of practical experience.