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February 1974

Flexner and EngelAn Important Formula

Arch Intern Med. 1974;133(2):316-317. doi:10.1001/archinte.1974.00320140154019

The old argument of science vs the humanistic practice of medicine is being revived with all the intense feeling and fervor that that discussion always generates. The issue has come up again because there is sharp sentiment throughout the nation that the country needs more generalist doctors, the primary care or family practitioners, and because of the belief that such physicians will surely deal more effectively with the "human" elements of disease since that is essentially what is at stake in the daily lives and ills of us all.

In order to develop this much-desired type of physician, two important lines of thought have evolved: one states that the simplest and most effective way to proceed is to include rigorously in the education of the physician an explicit program that focuses much attention on the emotional and social characteristics of the patient and of the physician-patient relationship1; the second

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