Two years ago, Daniel Lowenstein, MD, looked at a USMLE multiple-choice question and wondered how long it would take him to find the answer (hypoxanthine guanine phosphoribosyltransferase deficiency) on his phone.
“I think I searched for child plus retardation plus self-mutilation, and it took .06 seconds to take me to Wikipedia, which gave me the answer,” said Lowenstein, the Dr. Robert B. and Mrs. Ellinor Aird Professor of Neurology at UCSF and David Seegal Alpha Omega Alpha Visiting Professor at P&S, during a special lecture in honor of new P&S inductees into Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society.
“So why are we asking people to memorize this type of information when it’s readily available?”
Today’s medical school experience is not that different from 30 years ago, Lowenstein said, but in 30 more years it will be unrecognizable to current students, thanks in part to the revolution in technology such as smartphones.
With this instantaneous and ubiquitous connection to information, students will replace time spent learning “biodisposable factoids” for more important things, such as how cognitive biases can lead doctors to make the wrong decisions.
The revolution in the connectivity of people to one other and to information, Lowenstein concluded, “is leading us to a new era in learning, science, and clinical medicine that has unimaginable promise for improving health.”
P&S Inducts New Alpha Omega Alpha Members
Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society is a professional medical organization that recognizes and advocates for excellence in scholarship and the highest ideals in the profession of medicine. The top 25 percent of a medical school class is eligible for nomination to the society, and up to 16 percent may be elected based on leadership, character, community service, and professionalism.
The new AOA inductees from the P&S Class of 2013 are: Aliza Alter, Eric Bank, David Bejar, Caitlin Clancy, Rebecca Eskin, William Freed-Pastor, Irmina Gawlas, Jordan Ireton, Gregory Judson, Colleen Kays, Jacob Kriegel, Joseph Lazar, Quinn Leslie, Thomas McConville, Jose McFaline, Anne Onishi, Anuraag Parikh, Ashley Pritchard, Robert Rogers, Lauren Rosenberg, Daniel Rubin, Saachi Sachdev, Jamal Shillingford, Robert Spang, Justin Ward, Forrest White, and Meredith Winter.