Previous research has shown evidence of a widening gap between scientific research and clinical teaching in sleep and sleep disorders. To address the deficiencies in current medical education in sleep, the Taskforce 2000 was established by the American Sleep Disorders Association. The present study was undertaken to assess the teaching activities, needs and interests of the membership of the two largest professional sleep societies (American Sleep Disorders Association and Sleep Research Society). Survey instruments included a brief, 5-item postcard survey, which was mailed to all members, followed by an in-depth, 34-item questionnaire, which was completed by 158 respondents from the intitial postcard survey (N=808). Results indicated that the majority of respondents (65.2%) are currently involved in teaching sleep to medical students or postgraduate trainees, although the average amount of teaching time was only 2.1 hours for undergraduate and 4.8 hours for graduate education in sleep. Teaching of sleep laboratory procedures and clinical evaluation of sleep-disordered patients is limited at either an undergraduate or postgraduate level. The major deficiencies noted were the lack of time in the medical curriculum and the need for better resources and teaching facilities. A large majority of respondents indicated their willingness to be involved in sleep education for physicians, and rated this a high priority for the professional organization.
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