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January 7, 1983

The Physician as an Educated Person

Author Affiliations

University of Nebraska Medical Center School of Medicine Omaha

JAMA. 1983;249(1):18-19. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330250014008

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To the Editor.—  As a first-year medical student, I believe I am in a unique position to respond to the commentary by Dr Rhoads.In the commentary, Dr Rhoads joins the ranks of those who decry the heavy emphasis on the sciences in premedical education. He also joins the ranks of those who suggest that the way to solve this problem is to suddenly shift gears and start overemphasizing humanities in the premedical curriculum.I see this as simplistic and perilous. There are three perils of overemphasizing humanities in premedical training. First, by increasing the amount of humanities studied, by necessity you decrease the amount of science taken. (There are only so many credit hours to be used.) This leads to the second problem of a weakened background for the clinical years. Problem one also leads indirectly to problem 3—the sciences and the humanities require a different type of study.