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Medical School Dean Steven Gabbe, M.D., tells a story about how one veteran Vanderbilt student initiated a first-year class: "He put a grape on the table and told them, 'This is your brain.' Then he held up a cantaloupe and said, 'This is what you have to learn.' " And then he smashed the grape with the cantaloupe.

An attention-grabbing demonstration, without a doubt; intimidating, maybe just a little scary. But, actually, quite a right-on-track representation of a roiling undercurrent in medical education in America today. The people in charge of shaping new doctors are reconsidering just how much stuff should get crammed into students' brains and if long-held ways of doing that actually are producing the intended results.

"You can't learn everything," observes Gabbe. "You need to know where to go to get the information and, when you get it — and this is really important — how to evaluate the information."  continued..

WRITTEN BY ELIZABETH OLDER
ILLUSTRATION BY PETE MCARTHUR
   
 

Learning to
communicate

The staggering
consequences of
one, simple report

   
 
 
 
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