Teaching immunology in medical education: lessons from Akira Kurosawa

Teaching and research in the field of Immunology adhere predominantly to a military or warlike paradigm, according to which the host-microorganism interactions are viewed from the perspective of attack-and-defense processes. Since such knowledge is traditionally addressed in undergraduate health courses, this perspective has an obvious impact on the training of future health professionals, including physicians. The current article reflects on the pedagogical issues pertaining to the attack-and-defense model. A theoretical inquiry was conducted according to the following method: (1) critical review of the literature, with texts obtained from books and book chapters on Immunology; (2) critical reading of the texts; and (3) elaboration of a reflexive synthesis on the theme. The military model of Immunology is hegemonic in the textbooks, consistent with the identical theoretical concept that is inherent to Western medicine, helping condition the views of undergraduate and graduate students and future health professionals. It is possible to seek alternatives, including possibilities for conceiving Immunology in terms of new models, including homeostasis and interdependence (both shaping an ecological paradigm), potentially more amenable to an approach to the issues now on the horizon, with undeniable effects on medical education.

Immunology; Medical education; Models Immunological


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