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Comment & Response
May 24/31, 2016

Pimping as a Practice in Medical Education

Author Affiliations
  • 1Napa Valley Unified School District, Napa, California
JAMA. 2016;315(20):2235. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.1574

To the Editor Two recent commentaries addressed pimping as a practice used in the training of medical students.1,2 I wonder if the authors, and the medical community at large, are aware of how startling and demeaning this practice sounds to those outside the medical profession. In general parlance, the word has nothing to do with teaching or honing skills: Webster’s dictionary defines it as the actions of one who “panders or procures . . . solicits for a prostitute . . . or lends himself to some corrupting or corrupt activity.”3 What is it about the practice of questioning medical interns that overlaps with that sense of pimping? Drs McCarthy and McEvoy stated clearly that “one consequence—sometimes intentional—is that the pimped learner can be humiliated.”1 In this sense, it sounds more like hazing.

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