Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Latest Posts

Personal Responsibility, Healthcare Reform, And Going With Our Guts

This post appears on the Hastings Center’s Values and Health Reform Connection, a new group blog on American values and why they matter in health reform.


Values come from the gut, not the mind, and the gut is not a sophisticated thinker about the nuances of alternative policy options.

—Jim Sabin, MD Essay: Responsibility

I’m going to do something “radical” here in the spirit of Dr. Sabin’s opening quote – and speak from my gut on the topic of responsibility.

In my opinion, it’s human nature to shirk responsibility, and our current society is a great facilitator of that natural urge. The more wealthy and technologically comfortable we become, the fewer responsibilities we have (in terms of securing basic needs), and the more empowered we are to indulge our inner narcissism. Until we accept that we all have this selfish tendency, we’ll continue to point at others and engage in a blame game that keeps us all very much in the dark about what’s really going on. Read more »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »