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January 24/31, 2001

JAMA 2001 Medical Education Issue: A Call for Papers

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Dr Lurie is Senior Editor, JAMA.

JAMA. 2001;285(4):465-466. doi:10.1001/jama.285.4.465

Life was certainly simpler for medical educators in the immediate post-Flexnerian age. The scientific discoveries of the late 19th and early 20th centuries seemed at the time to be mere promissory notes on an even more abundant harvest of medical miracles, and the public then viewed the medical profession with a mixture of veneration, deference, and gratitude. Medical education largely involved a didactic initiation into the known principles of disease, followed by a few years of bedside experience. Patients, for their part, were perhaps reassured by their inability to penetrate their physicians' scientific training, as its complexity was also proof of its soundness. The patient-physician relationship was known to be important, but only the most august professor would have presumed to lecture to medical students or interns about it. If the art of medicine was long, as Hippocrates first asserted, it was also thought to be mostly indescribable and unteachable: students simply apprenticed themselves to practitioners of known clinical virtuosity in a proven method of education and craftsmanship whose roots stretched far beyond the Middle Ages into antiquity.