Individualized Medical Sociology: Placing Sociology in Medical Practice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Although medical sociology has been taught at medical schools for a few decades, medical students still have difficulty in understanding the usefulness of sociology in medical practice. This article discusses how medical sociology can be taught in a way that is more practical and thus more useful to medical students and medical practitioners. By using the concept of “individualized medical sociology,” I show how medical sociologists can construct elaborated individual cases and apply relevant sociological principles to help students and medical practitioners understand the relevance of sociology and also show them how to use sociology in medical practice. Medical sociologists can effectively make use of sociological material by reviewing the basic literature of the discipline and by constructing cases along the lines of problem-based learning (PBL) so as to accord with the literature. This article challenges a main sociological argument that sociology should study social groups and societies rather than individuals and shows how to teach individualized medical sociology through PBL. By understanding the relevance and usefulness of sociology in medical practice, medical students can improve their communication skills, understand more about their patients as social beings, become culturally competent, and become better doctors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-190
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Social Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2015


  • medical sociology
  • problem-based learning
  • teaching medical sociology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Individualized Medical Sociology: Placing Sociology in Medical Practice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this