February 13, 1998

Chapman Lectureship urges students to think globally

Chapman Lectureship urges students to think globally

Medical students today must never lose sight of the forest for the trees.

As they shoulder the burden of several years of intense medical education and residencies, students should not forget that, as physicians of the future, their societal obligations will be great, and they will practice their profession as members of a worldwide community.

"The challenge for you today is to be citizens of the world, because you will be living and working in a global society," said Dr. Steven C. Beering, president of Purdue University.

"Now, with the millennium nearly upon us, it is time to chart a new agenda. It is time for American medicine to step forward and deal with the world's problems, from AIDS to alcohol addiction to aging. We must make ourselves available to our fellow man as citizens, not just physicians."

Beering was at Vanderbilt University Medical Center last week as the featured speaker at the First Annual John E. Chapman Lectureship on the Ecology of Medicine and Medical Education.

His message to the Light Hall audience made up primarily of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine students was one of responsibility and obligation to the profession and calling of medicine.

"As you go through life, you will find that you can summarize your activities in one word ‹ physician," Beering said. "As physicians, we need openness, curiosity and hard work to enable us to take charge of our own destinies because we cannot escape our responsibilities as physicians that the health of the people be maintained."

Beering wasn't the only speaker on hand for the lectureship honoring Chapman, Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine for more than 23 years, the longest tenure of any dean at a medical school in the United States.

Also present was Dr. Richard E. Strain Jr., who graduated from VUSM in 1975 and established the lectureship last year in memory of his father, also a physician. Strain is now an Orthopaedic surgeon currently practicing at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Fla.

"I knew Dr. Chapman as you do now," Strain told the students. "The medical center has changed since I was here, but the educational component has not. It has remained strong and vital, thanks to Dr. Chapman."

The John E. Chapman Lectureship on the Ecology of Medicine and Medical Education is devoted to the study of the environment in which the actions of medicine occur ‹ the social, political, organizational and economic factors which influence the practice of medicine.