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October 3, 1990

Abuse of Medical Students

JAMA. 1990;264(13):1657. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450130027009

To the Editor. —  The recent articles and editorial on medical student abuse induced feelings of anxiety and déjà vu in me.1-3 These studies, whatever their shortcomings, highlight an issue, recently addressed by Kanner in his book Becoming a Doctor,4 that has been repressed too long. Unfortunately, the studies and editorial stopped short in recommending ways medical schools can change this environment. I would propose that the solution to this problem can be found in adopting and implementing sound educational principles in our medical schools.Historically, medical student abuse has been part of an educational tradition that dates back to apprenticeships before the establishment of medical schools in this country. To change this system is a monumental task that will require systematic, long-range, innovative planning and commitment initiated by our deans and influential department chairpersons. The power to suggest and help implement change rests at this level and