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May 11, 1970

Presumptuous Forums in Medical Education

JAMA. 1970;212(6):1069. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170190083023

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To the Editor.—  Must we endure another forum on "relevance for Today and Tomorrow in Medical Education" ("What's Wrong With Medical Education?," [211: 1848, 1970] )? In such well-meaning displays of remoteness from reality, a minority of contributors have been in the actual true-grit practice of medicine. The ridiculous, though tragic, emphasis on "anthropology, computers, cybernetics, economics, political science, and sociology" in the medical curriculum contrasts with our geometrically increasing desperate need for more physicians who are able and willing to treat physically sick people.How can we be so presumptuous, not to say callous, as to divert young men and women into "new careers basic to a productive attack on socioeconomic and political issues as they affect and involve medicine," when we expect interns in some of our ill-equipped, badly staffed hospitals to work up 18 or 20 night admissions, after slaving all day on the wards and emergency rooms?