Monday, October 11, 2010

More discussion on humanities, basic science and medical education

Anesthesioboist T guest blogs at Kevin MD on this subject. The post is titled Should humanities be the focus of prospective medical students? The question should not be whether humanities ought to be the focus. That implies a false dichotomy. Students can and should be well schooled in both humanities and basic science.

I agree wholeheartedly with the Anesthesioboist's points about the importance of a solid background in the humanities. But what concerns me about her post is what appears to be a straw man:

Most physicians who were science majors have of course come out in passionate defense of tradition, with some showing embarrassingly arrogant contempt for their counterparts in the humanities. They have called the Mount Sinai program an example of the “dumbing down” of American education, which I find patently offensive as a former English major who chose one of the most science-oriented specialties in medicine (but also, to my mind, one of the most artful).

And this---

I find the habit of many physicians of looking down at the humanities and humanities students completely obnoxious, but of course, I am biased.

I along with a few others who have expressed skepticism feel the jury's still out concerning the Mount Sinai program. We have expressed concern about the de-emphasis on basic science, which doesn't devalue humanities education in the least. There's plenty of room, even the traditional curriculum, for both.

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