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Developing a good bedside manner


Proposing improvements in the running of Harvard Medical School
Howard Hiatt Physician
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Shortly before I left the hospital, the trustees of the hospital asked for my advice with respect to my successor. I told them that the new professor had just been chosen for the Brigham, that I had spoken with him and that he was very eager to see a close relationship with the... with Beth Israel. Indeed, I said to the trustees, I... I have difficulty in visualizing two completely independent Harvard teaching hospitals within a few hundred yards of each other indefinitely, and if it were possible to pick a chairman for each of these institutions, that is, to pick a person who would chair medicine in both hospitals and surgery in both hospitals, it could be an undertaking that might have extremely important outcome for the... for Harvard Medical School and for the institutions in question. Braunwald, the new chair of medicine for the Brigham, had indicated his willingness to take responsibility for the two departments if he were invited. Bill Silen knew that the chairman of surgery at the Brigham was... would be retiring shortly, said he would be willing to step aside and, if the committee chose him, he'd be glad to take on the two institutions. If it chose someone else he'd be willing to work with the person whom it chose. That was a proposal that I offered that was considered, but it did not come to pass.

Subsequently, when the Department of Medicine at the Beth Israel was not doing as well as people would like, the head of the hospital, Mitch Rabkin went to the new chairman not... now not so new any longer, chairman of medicine at the Brigham, and invited him to share responsibilities, to share his activities taking charge, not only at the Brigham but at Beth Israel, and Braunwald did that for a few years until that department was strengthened.

Born in 1925, American Howard Hiatt set up one of the first medical oncology research and training units in the US and has headed up some of America's most prestigious medical institutions. Hiatt attended Harvard College and received his MD from the Harvard Medical School in 1948. He was a member of the team at the Pasteur Institute, Paris, that first identified and described mRNA, and he was among the first to demonstrate mRNA in mammalian cells. From 1991 to 1997, he was Secretary of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, where he began and directs the Academy's Initiatives For Children program. He is also committed to helping disadvantaged people access decent health care.

Listeners: Milton C. Weinstein

Milton C. Weinstein, Ph.D., is the Henry J. Kaiser Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health and Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School. At the Harvard School of Public Health he is Academic Director of the Program in Health Decision Science, and Director of the Program on Economic Evaluation of Medical Technology . He is best known for his research on cost-effectiveness of medical practices and for developing methods of economic evaluation and decision analysis in health care. He is a co-developer of the CEPAC (Cost-Effectiveness of Preventing AIDS Complications) computer simulation model, and has conducted studies on prevention and treatment of HIV infections. He is the co-developer of the Coronary Heart Disease Policy Model, which has been used to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of cardiovascular prevention and treatment. He is an author of four books: Decision Making in Health and Medicine: Integrating Evidence and Values; Cost-Effectiveness in Health and Medicine,the report of the Panel of Cost Effectiveness in Health and Medicine; Clinical Decision Analysis; and Hypertension: A Policy Perspective.He has also published more than 200 papers in peer-reviewed medical, public health, and economics journals. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the Award for Career Achievement from the Society for Medical Decision Making. Dr. Weinstein received his A.B. and A.M. in Applied Mathematics (1970), his M.P.P. (1972), and his Ph.D. in Public Policy (1973) from Harvard University.

Tags: Brigham and Women's Hospital, Beth Israel Medical Center, Harvard Medical School

Duration: 3 minutes, 8 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2006

Date story went live: 24 January 2008