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December 20, 2006

Medical Education Theme Issue 2007Call for Papers

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Dr Golub is Senior Editor, JAMA (

JAMA. 2006;296(23):2857. doi:10.1001/jama.296.23.2857

To be good is noble, but to teach others how to be good is nobler—and less trouble.—Mark Twain

Practicing physicians aspire to be good, whether this attribute is defined with respect to intellectual skills, manual skills, or professional standards. In medicine, it may indeed be nobler to teach others to be good (in any of these senses). However, doing so is arguably far more difficult. Those physicians with expertise may be strikingly inarticulate when trying to convey their reasoning. The complexity of the cognitive tasks required in making a diagnosis or recommending treatment makes determining the most effective formats and settings in which to transmit this knowledge a daunting task. This situation is not made any easier by clinical pressures and general lack of remuneration that often not only fail to provide tangible rewards for teaching but may perversely discourage the best—and most noble—clinicians from participating.

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