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Medicine

A growing number of graduates are pursuing careers in medicine, finding satisfaction and surprising connections between these two fields of interest. As Ryan Mason ’06, who is completing his medical degree at Brown University stated, “I find my training in history highly applicable in my medical career. Once the basic science and physical exam skills are rote, critical thinking is indispensable to the astute physician. Teasing out histories from patients often make the diagnosis. New journal articles require analysis of primary sources and biases before being incorporated into practice. Additionally, in application to medical school, a humanities major can help one stand out from a crowd of Biology majors.” Elizabeth Greenstein ’09, OB/GYN Resident Physician at Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania adds, “My history major helped me to critically approach problems in healthcare that cannot be solved with the basic science skills taught in medical school. In terms of becoming a clinician, my focus on American history during my undergraduate career has given me a unique insight into the historical development of racial, socioeconomic, and gender issues faced by my patients on a daily basis.”

Recent graduates just beginning their careers in medicine are finding connections that majors who have practiced medicine for decades have long known to be true:  “I use my history education every day as a family doctor, Elizabeth Williams ’74 attests. “In clinical medicine, it is vital to be able to uncover and critically evaluate information from various sources, and to communicate well as a writer and in conversations. History teaches the value of looking at the evidence yourself, to be an independent thinker.” Mark Banschick ’78 concurs that “understanding history makes all the difference. How did that older sister affect my patient?  Does this Principal make the staff feel bullied?  Which medications worked, and when?  This is all history.”