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April 3, 1967


JAMA. 1967;200(1):68. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120140126029

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'I am a physician, and nothing that concerns man do I consider foreign to me." This slight modification of the well known quotation by Terence expresses a definite philosophy of medicine. The true physician concerns himself with not merely the technical aspects of medicine but with the entire human condition—the thoughts, aspirations, reflections, speculations of man, his philosophy, literature, and art. At one time only the psychiatrist accepted these cultural aspects as directly relevant to the personality of his patient. And indeed, for a psychiatrist seeking to understand the workings of the mind, all these branches of knowledge are intensely relevant. However, all physicians, to treat their patients, should have insight into the wide ranges of social, intellectual, esthetic, and economic environments. Only by having a background in these areas can a physician empathize with the patient. Only by being himself broadly cultured can the physician appreciate the different levels