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August 21, 1981

Talking Medicine: America's Doctors Tell Their Stories

JAMA. 1981;246(8):893-896. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320080073041

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Twenty-two physicians and four medical students speak freely about their involvement in medicine in the pages of Talking Medicine, a collection of interviews by a third-year medical student. One virtue of the book is a laying-out of the transition through medical school and training to full-fledged practitioner, though the transition remains enigmatic. Another virtue is the balance of subjects, whose interviews are grouped according to "Education," "Training," "Practicing," "Researchers," "Personal Lives," and "The Big Picture."

Interviewees include William Foege, Benjamin Spock, and Robert Hunter, and, under pseudonyms, a women's health physician, a surgeon (who discusses finances), a general practitioner, and a physician who has chosen to leave the country. The author's preface, conclusion, and introductions to each interview, and his balance in reporting his own observations and letting his subjects speak for themselves, make this an integrated work. He suggests that it will interest the person contemplating