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A Piece of My Mind
April 11, 2017

The Evidence-Based Metaphor

Author Affiliations
  • 1New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York
JAMA. 2017;317(14):1411-1412. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.17219

“Grace and I are trying to keep the vaccines minimal for Annie, if we can.”

Jeremy, the man sitting in front of me, is tall, slender, and politely tattooed. Despite appearing distinctly well rested, he’s every bit the new parent: exhilarated and, equally, terrified.

“There are just so many of them,” he says. “I was concerned about overloading her system.”

It’s a situation that many pediatricians encounter on a regular basis: a parent who is resistant to the idea of childhood vaccinations for a son or daughter. The only difference here is that Jeremy isn’t really an anxious parent but a standardized patient—an actor trained to re-create this scenario—and I’m not a physician but a medical student. We’re in the midst of an OSCE, an “objective structured clinical examination,” designed to train medical students in the real-life practice of medicine.

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