What I Learned in Medical School: Personal Stories of Young Doctors

What I Learned in Medical School: Personal Stories of Young Doctors

What I Learned in Medical School: Personal Stories of Young Doctors

What I Learned in Medical School: Personal Stories of Young Doctors


"A heartfelt, sincere, and broad-ranging collection of voices from the depths of struggle in medical education. You will find here doubts, anger, surprise, sometimes naivete--and you will also find hope."--Atul Gawande, M.D., author of "Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science

"This vibrant collection celebrates the diversity of medical trainees' experiences and brings to the forefront voices too often marginalized in medicine. Testament to the changing face of the profession, this volume reminds both healers and patients that medicine's strengths arise from the rich variety of its practitioners."--Sayantani DasGupta, MD, MPH, author of "Her Own Medicine: A Woman's Journey from Student to Doctor "

"The book has tremendous educational value and could be used as a catalyst for change."--Maureen S. O'Leary, MBA, RN, Executive Director of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association

"In these beautifully written and deeply honest essays, medical students share a commitment to humanity that heals the wounds of isolation and reveals the power of diversity in the service of life. "What I Learned in Medical School "is a special book. Read it. It will make you proud to know your doctor."--Rachel Naomi Remen, author of"Kitchen Table Wisdom "

"An intriguing collection of strong and varied voices from the next generation of doctors. The narratives in this book challenge our assumptions about medical education and what makes a good physician, while reminding us, by their power, variety, and sincerity, of the many different roads that can be followed into medicine. The reader comes away with an appreciation for the richness and complexity that broadening the traditional profile ofmedicine and doctors brings to the profession and its practices."--Perri Klass, MD, author of "A Not Entirely Benign Procedure: Four Years as a Medical Student "

"This wonderful, thoughtful, and sometimes bitterly humorous


When I entered the University of Arkansas in the fall of 1956, I knew that had I tried to go to medical school just ten years earlier, I would not have been admitted. At that time, blacks in the South could attend only black medical schools, of which there were two, Howard University in Washington, D. C., and Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. Because of the limited spots, admission to these two schools was highly competitive. Besides, neither had the resources required to run a state-of-the-art academic, research-based institution. Physicians from Howard and Meharry became clinicians in cities and communities; they rarely became professors, policy makers, heads of departments of public health, and certainly not the surgeon general of the United States of America.

But in 1956 a few medical schools were beginning to recruit black students and faculty members. In my entering class, there were three blacks and three women out of one hundred students. Cracks were opening up within the institution of medicine, and indeed in all of American society. As the three of us black students ate together in the segregated cafeterias of the medical school, Martin Luther King Jr. and Thurgood Marshall were organizing marches and rallies around the South.

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