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July 2012

The Doctor and the Thoroughbreds

Author Affiliations


Author Affiliations: The Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center for Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences and Department of Otolaryngology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2012;138(7):622-623. doi:10.1001/archoto.2012.1174

The word “doctor” does not indicate a person who heals. The etymology of “doctor” reveals that the Latin root verb— docere —means both “to teach” and “to lead.”1

In medicine, we take deep historical pride about teaching the next generation of healers. We hope that some of our trainees will evolve into medical leaders—genuine thoroughbreds. Yet, we doctor-trainers receive little or no formal instruction about how to teach or how to lead. Furthermore, we do not capitalize on existing university formal training programs for teaching (school of education) and for leadership (business school, ROTC programs).