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My early medical career


Accepted by Harvard to major in English
Howard Hiatt Physician
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At classical high school in Worcester, I recall being advised by the Principal not to apply anywhere other than to Harvard where I wanted to go, because he felt confident that I would get in. When I was turned down for admission, and I had no back-up possibility, I went to see him. He was sufficiently troubled so that he went to Cambridge and saw the Dean of Admissions, said to him, you know the valedictorian in our class has applied to Harvard now several years and they've all been accepted. Is the fact that this one is Jewish in any way related to the action? Whatever the basis for the action, it was reversed on the spot and I did go to Harvard where I majored in English; did not finish because I went into the army and at... went into the army having been accepted to medical school, and had a brief period of basic training in the army before being discharged to go to medical school.

[Q] What was your exposure to science at Harvard?

I majored in English, had relatively little, took only those courses that were required for... for medical school aspirants, and was not moved particularly by the science I had, and subsequently at Harvard Medical School the exposure to biological science was really so unsatisfactory that I was virtually turned off by it. I subsequently became very excited by it, but for reasons I'll come to in just a... a few minutes.

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: Harvard Medical School

Duration: 2 minutes, 35 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2006

Date story went live: 24 January 2008