Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gawande's HMS commencement speech

Here is Atul Gawande's recent commencement address at Harvard Medical School, courtesy of the New Yorker.

My favorite part is somewhat of a red herring: Gawande writes, "I do not believe society should be forced to choose between whether our children get a great education or their teachers get great medical care." But that choice, while typically not between the extremes evoked by his language here, is a very real one. Resources are scarce, especially public ones. How will we trade off the benefits of each use?

The rest of the address discusses new delivery systems of medicine in today's era of advanced technology, and the challenges Gawande argues are best faced by "pit crews" rather than individuals.