Arnold Relman, MD (P&S 1946), a former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, died at his home in Cambridge, Mass., on June 17, his 91st birthday. Under his editorship, the journal expanded its coverage to include social, economic, and policy issues.
Dr. Relman also wrote extensively on such topics as the risks of for-profit health care, health care reform, and medical ethics. He recently published an article in the New York Review of Books about his experiences in the hospital after breaking his neck. Even after decades of spent researching and writing about the U.S. medical care system, he learned something new. He wrote,
“[w]hat I hadn’t appreciated was the extent to which, when there is no emergency, new technologies and electronic record-keeping affect how doctors do their work. Attention to the masses of data generated by laboratory and imaging studies has shifted their focus away from the patient.”
Dr. Relman was active in the P&S Alumni Association and served on the Columbia University Board of Trustees from 1989 to 1995.
In 2012, Dr. Relman spoke to Columbia Medicine about his time at P&S, health care reform, and how becoming the editor of NEJM caused him take a broader view of the health care system and to consider issues that he had never faced before.