Janice L. Willms, MD, PhD
Willms J.; The Internist's Reading: Purposeful Eclecticism. Ann Intern Med. 1995;122:158. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-122-2-199501150-00028
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1995;122(2):158.
How do we internists, as generally unsystematic readers of works outside of medicine, learn about the existence of a particular piece of literature? Many of my “finds” come as unanticipated spinoffs of a research or teaching task. As I consider my past months' extracurricular reading, I find myself reflecting on the “disconnects” among the memorable favorites. There is little pattern to their genres, nations of origin, subject matter, or years of publication. The pieces are related to one another largely by virtue of having been discovered serendipitously in the course of a work-related project.
While putting together a commentary on the relation of media ethics to alternative health practices in the United States, I found a fascinating range of historical studies. Several read like whodunits and provide fascinating trivia as well as practical information for the modern conventional physician. Norman Gevitz wrote Other Healers: Unorthodox Medicine in America (published in 1988), a scholarly review of the dominant unconventional groups—how they got started, what has happened to them over time, and their status today. In The Great American Medicine Show (published in 1991), David and Elizabeth Metzger Armstrong treat the reader to a colorfully illustrated trip through the “fringes” of health care—yesterday's and today's.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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