Doctors Serving People: Restoring Humanism to Medicine through Student Community Service

By Edward J. Eckenfels | Go to book overview

Introduction
Humanism in the Time of Technocracy

By any indicator—the appearance of new
essays, research, curricula, feedback instru-
ments, or innovation in certification and
continued learning—in this past decade
there has been a remarkable intensification
of interest in professionalism in medicine
.

—Thomas Inui, “Educating for Professionalism
in Medicine”


Can Medicine Redeem Itself?

To paraphrase the great American Revolutionary hero Thomas Paine, these are times that try the soul of American medicine.1 Cost estimates of $2.2 trillion and rising, at least 45 million people uninsured at any given time, and mounting dissatisfaction with the quality of care received have made the existing crisis in medicine increasingly alarming. Added to the rapidly expanding list of medicine’s woes are a growing physician shortage (or maldistribution and overspecialization); a leveling-off of minority admissions to medical school; a steady decline in medical school graduates seeking a career in primary care; proposed higher premiums for Medicare beneficiaries; a market-incentive health care system; for-profit HMOs; powerful health insurance lobbies; and the escalating influence of the pharmaceutical industry in the training, management, and practice of medicine.

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