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Abstract[[abstract]]Background:Following the curriculum reforms of 2002 that emphasized humanistic values and ethics in medical education and instituted liberal arts requirements, medical students are expected to acquire a new conception of professionalism that incorporates the social contract inherent to the profession.Purpose:This paper presents the results of a 2007 survey of medical students concerning their ideals.Methods:The survey instrument was designed based on codes of conduct for good doctoring; it encompassed five dimensions deemed essential to professionalism. The quality of the instrument was assured via consultation with experts as well as with reliability and validity tests. The data were collected from 440 out of 860 first- to fourth-year undergraduate medical students at four medical schools between April and June 2007 in Taiwan. Statistical analysis utilized LISREL 8.72 to check construct validity. Further ANOVA tested the significance of differences among groups.Results:The 440 responding medical students expressed a high valuation for all dimensions of medical professionalism; however, they placed relatively greater importance on medical knowledge and skills, interpersonal skills, and teamwork. First- and second-year students had a slightly higher valuation for all dimensions compared to fourth-year students. This may be due to curriculum reforms not being fully in effect when the older students began study.Conclusion:Taiwan's humanistic medical educational reforms are only in the nascent stages, and subsequent longitudinal studies are recommended. The slight gap between general universities and medical universities may reflect a greater range of liberal arts courses in general universities that enhance a student's basic understanding of humanities. Nonetheless, liberal arts courses are now listed as requirements for undergraduate medical students.