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Commentary
December 8, 2010

A Physician = Emotion + Passion + Science

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Robert H. Brook, MD, ScD, RAND Corp, Santa Monica, California.

JAMA. 2010;304(22):2528-2529. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1807

Pick up JAMA or the Annals of Internal Medicine, and what do you notice? The cover of JAMA is selected with meticulous detail and tells a story relevant to the world, to medicine, and to the right brain. Both journals devote space to something more personal than a scientific article: in the case of JAMA, A Piece of My Mind and in the case of the Annals of Internal Medicine, On Being a Doctor. There is even a place for poetry written by physicians. It is not clear how many physicians actually read their copy of JAMA or the Annals of Internal Medicine when they receive it, but it would be interesting to know how many of them read the sections that appeal to emotion, passion, and the right brain. In A Piece of My Mind or On Being a Doctor, the reader confronts a personal story written in the first person with undisguised emotions—passionate and compelling. Often the stories connect the reader with parts of medicine that have confronted every physician: death, dying, the nontypical patient, one's own frailty, or one's own health.

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