The 2005 spring/summer edition of P&S has been on my desk for more than six months as a reminder to write to you. As a member of the P&S class of 1955 I gave a short talk on my research at our 50th reunion. I am still conducting research and teaching full time. I have vivid memories of Robert Loeb, Dana Atchley, Virginia Apgar, Harry Smith, and their generation of teachers highlighted in your article (“Teaching Academies: Putting the School Back in Medical School, Spring/Summer 2005 P&S). What does “putting the school back in medical school” mean? I have no idea from your article what the core of the P&S educational program might be at the present time.
At our medical school, Problem Based Learning has been our mode of education for many years. Five mornings a week, first- and second-year students get on their feet and explain to other students in their group the pathophysiologic details of all aspects of the information in patient case histories. Students spend their afternoons/evenings studying a case history, X-ray films, tissue samples, textbooks, medical journals finding explanations for all aspects of a patient’s disorder(s) to be able to make organized analytic presentations of the case to other students and a faculty member the next day. The method reduces competition between students and engenders a habit of inquiry and the skills to find answers to clinical issues without degrading the talents and insights of others. I can summarize one of its effects by telling about my lunch encounter with the supervisor of medical student clinical electives at a well-known Midwestern clinic. He supervised the clinical experiences for fourth-year medical students from a dozen medical schools. He told me he could always identify Hershey medical students without asking their school of origin. I asked how. He replied that when he tried to tell a Hershey student about a patient the student was assigned to examine, our student invariably interrupted with “Stop, I want to find out.” The same sequence took place if he tried to tell a Hershey student too much at the patient’s bedside. Students from other medical schools usually held back in both settings, waiting to be told what to do.
What is the organizational structure of the medical student education program at P&S now and how is it to be changed? What, for example, is a “teaching academy” and how does it engender the learning habits that are needed for success after medical school? Other alumni may have the same questions.
RICHARD L. NAEYE’55
PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY
COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, HERSHEY, PA.
Does “professional courtesy” exist anymore? I was given such courtesy when I was a medical student at P&S. It was also offered to me when we had our three children delivered at Mount Sinai Hospital. It was again given to me by our pediatrician in the care of our children, and by doctors who cared for my wife and myself. In turn, when I started my practice in surgery, I offered this courtesy to all of my fellow physicians and to their immediate families. Whatever insurance they had was accepted as full payment for my services. The onset of Medicare in 1965 did not alter this courtesy.
Today, it seems that many of the younger physicians are not aware of professional courtesy. A few months ago, my wife was seen in consultation by an endocrinologist. This physician would not offer this courtesy and insisted that he be paid $450 for this consultation. Have the physicians been “desensitized” to this age-long practice of professional courtesy? Have the insurance companies been responsible for this lack of courtesy? Don’t physicians realize that referral of patients from physicians who receive such courtesy would more than make up for such fees they would charge these doctors?
I am sure that there are many opinions of this matter and await replies from the many doctors who read this statement.
Thank you for the article on Sara Auld’s year of AIDS/HIV research in South Africa as a Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellow (Spring/Summer 2006 P&S Journal). It should be noted that Sara has also been awarded a Paul H. Douglas Fellowship Prize for 2006-07 which will allow her to continue her Doris Duke research in South Africa as well as participate in a clinical rotation in Kenya.
JAIME S. RUBIN, PH.D.
DORIS DUKE CHARITABLE FOUNDATION
CLINICAL RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP
PROGRAM FOR MEDICAL STUDENTS
It was with great joy I read about the Bard Hall Players’ most recent rendition of “West Side Story” (Winter 2006 P&S Journal). It brought back memories of a fun and rewarding experience during my medical school years at P&S. Your perseverance will serve you well in your medical careers.
Suerte (Break a leg!)
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO
Dr. Rivas Played Maria In A 1984 Run
Of “West Side Story” At P&S.
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