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Comment & Response
May 24/31, 2016

Pimping as a Practice in Medical Education—Reply

Author Affiliations
  • 1Office of Student Affairs, Lewis Katz School of Medicine, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
JAMA. 2016;315(20):2237. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.1582

In Reply Both Ms Crosby and Dr Ravi take issue with the use of the term pimping in medical education. Whereas Ravi objects on the basis of the linguistic association of the word with exploitive and violent sex practices, Crosby focuses on the damage inflicted when future physicians are routinely humiliated. Writing as a teacher who is outside the medical profession, Crosby reacts to McCarthy and McEvoy’s1 definition of pimping, which was drawn from the 1989 article by Brancati, “The Art of Pimping.”2 But when Brancati extolled unanswerable questions and “ridding the intern of needless self-esteem,” his tongue was planted firmly in his cheek. Brancati used irony to critique, not endorse, this practice. More recent descriptions of such behavior might use the expression “malignant” pimping, which has become indefensible if not yet extinct. Medical education must show compassion and promote well-being in students, and educators must continue to improve in this regard.

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