| It's All Good |
After a long and cold winter spring has
finally arrived at Brown. There is no
better place to be than on the Green
among eager students, trees and flowers
in bloom, and Commencement just
around the corner. The only better
place could have been at this year’s
Match Day, for our medical students.
Our students are highly sought after
by training programs. Most students
got their number one choice, and
more students than last year are staying
in Rhode Island. There was also an
increase in those electing to go into
primary care; this is consistent with a national increase of
11 percent. The results of the Match can be found in this issue.
We were honored to have Gus White speak at a forum on campus recently. Dr. White, the Ellen and Melvin
Gordon Distinguished Professor of Medical Education and professor of orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical
School, is a proud Brown alumnus and a scientist who has distinguished himself on several fronts, most notably in
orthopedics. He is also passionate about health care and the disparities that exist in the US today. His passion is
captured in his book excerpt in this issue.
The rankings of Alpert Medical School in the latest US News & World Report improved this year over last year,
from 32 to 29 in Research and from 49 to 28 in Primary Care. The Research category ranking is driven by academic
reputation (the opinion of our peers), NIH funding, the quality of the student body, and the faculty-to-student
ratio. The Primary Care category is driven mostly by reputation and the percentage of graduating seniors who enter
primary care disciplines. While very pleased, I am also wary of the subjective nature of these rankings and their
variability from year to year. Looming in the future are plans to declare a School of Public Health and the effect it
would have on the Medical School’s ranking. It is gratifying, however, to see our School consistently in the top
one quarter of medical schools, and improving.
| unbaised source It |
A million years ago in college, in a reading assignment for a course on critical theory—the text was by Dworkin or Brownmiller, I think—I was struck by the notion of the invisibility of sexism. It had never occurred to me that the mere prevalence of bias was to some degree a cause of its intractability. It was a chilling thought. How can you reverse something that people either don’t see, or don’t see as unnatural?
The same is true of most isms and biases, of course, and while it’s heartbreaking that we are still talking about unequal treatment of minorities and women, it’s also heartening to know that someone as eloquent and engaging as Dr. Augustus White is advocating for change in a field that arguably touches everyone. White and his co-author, David Chanoff, have written a quietly but deeply persuasive case first for seeing, and then for eliminating, bias in the medical profession. Their book, of which you can read an excerpt in this issue, is a thorough and thoroughly readable examination of the sometimes unwittingly inequitable handling different groups receive, and the unequal health outcomes that result. It is also the amazing and quite humbling story of one man’s life.
| He’s the Man |
Reading the article “Larger Than Life”
(Winter 2011), I was reminded of my
days as a medical student rotating on
the orthopaedic service at Brown. The
article made no mention of the medical
students who were also significantly influenced
by Dr. Ehrlich. As a third-year
student I thought that perhaps I was
interested in orthopaedics. I rotated on
the service and was immediately impressed
with the residents’ work ethic
and caring for patients. I returned as a
sub-intern convinced this was what I
wanted to do and who I wanted to become.
Dr. Ehrlich’s influence on the residents
At the daily breakfast with the chair,
Dr. Ehrlich would lecture on a topic and
then ask questions, starting with the
medical students. If the student failed
to answer correctly, the question was
bumped to the intern and so on. I still
remember being asked about fibular
hemimelia and silently thanking the
resident (Craig Eberson) for telling me
to read up on it the night before. After
having missed a question about aggrecanase
the day before I so wanted to impress
Dr. Ehrlich, who by now I held on a
pedestal. I don’t know of another chairman who, while excelling at his clinical
and administrative duties, still found
the time to meet with and teach the residents
and students on a daily basis.
My experience at Brown was filled
with great mentors. Dr. Ehrlich was certainly
one of them. His character, dedication
to patients, commitment to residents
and students, and contributions to orthopaedics are incredible. He sets
an example for all of us in medicine.
Thank you, Dr. Ehrlich.
Erika J. Mitchell ’95 MD’99
Assistant Professor of
Because We Did Not
I was so pleased to see you use that
striking quotation from Emily Dickinson
on your most recent cover (Winter
2011). However, when I checked, you
stated that the text came from “The
Chariot” by Emily Dickinson. In addition
to using dashes rather than commas
at the end of the line, it is very significant
that she did not title her poems.
The poem is not called “The Chariot”
and does not use the word chariot. It is
Poem 712 from the Thomas H. Johnson
edition of The Complete Poems of Emily
Dickinson. It can be cited by poem number or first line. Besides the error in
citation, I was glad to see you bridge the
gap between poetry and medicine.
Elizabeth Metzger ’11
Brown Medicine replies:
The citation refers to the first collection of
Emily Dickinson’s poetry published by Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Mabel
Loomis Todd in 1890. They did alter the
dashes and add titles, but we preferred the
comma version for our purposes.
Built to Last
A number of letters were posted online
in response to “Pride of Place” (Winter
I love this piece. It is so important for
all of us to understand and appreciate
the people who transform this campus
every day. They are the magicians who
turn dreams into reality.
Senior Associate Dean
Office of Continuing
I am so impressed by this profile of
construction workers. They are the invisible
heroes/heroines of our built world.
Mary L. White