Hundreds of would-be doctors may be headed to Cuba for their training if Fidel Castro has his way.
During a meeting with members of the Congressional Black Caucus in Havana last year, the longtime pariah of the Caribbean offered free medical school--with room, board, books and even Spanish lessons included--to as many as 500 low-income, mostly minority American students. And now several U.S. lawmakers are intrigued by the proposal, which could become a reality before the end of the year.
"This is an exciting idea, and I just hope that politics don't get in the way," Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.) told the Associated Press. "We have people in the Bronx trying to identify students for the program."
Castro purportedly made the offer as a way to help low-income Hispanics and African-Americans overcome their historic under-representation at U.S. medical schools. The average medical school graduate enters the professional world carrying a debt of $93,000.
"It would be hard for your government to oppose such a program," Castro told the congressmen. Wonder if el Presidente knows how easy it's been for America to keep him isolated for nearly 40 years?
Money talks. It's no secret that a lot of physicians are technophobes. So how does a large group practice coax its doctors to put medical records online and retrieve them electronically? Hit them where it hurts: the pocketbook.
Management at Watson Clinic, a 160-physician, multispecialty practice in Lakeland, Fla., saw their doctors were less than enthusiastic about the practice's electronic medical records system--until the clinic started charging doctors $2 each time they asked clerical staff to pull a patient's paper file from the records room.
"That got the doctors to embrace EMR," Watson medical director Jorge Gonzalez, M.D., says matter-of-factly.
Only in Hollywood. Proving that there's a niche for just about everything, a medical clinic in Sherman Oaks, Calif., is making a name for itself in the Los Angeles area by catering to a decidedly high-risk clientele: porn stars.
A 20-year veteran of the adult movie industry and a former heroin addict, Sharon Mitchell opened the Adult Industry Medical HealthCare Foundation to help others with a penchant for having unprotected sex with multiple partners in front of a camera deal with the sexually transmitted diseases, alcoholism and drug addiction common in the industry. The clinic's Web site describes AIM as "a nonprofit corporation created to care for the physical and emotional needs of sex workers and the people who work in the adult entertainment industry."
Under the medical direction of Steven York, M.D., this specialty clinic offers low-cost testing for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and other STDs, prevention education, treatment for venereal diseases, and referrals to mental health services and various 12-step programs.
We're pretty sure York does not have to remind his patients to undress prior to an exam.
Head case. Biblical figure Samson is best known as a heroic fighter brought down by his inability to resist the temptations of Delilah. But was he having more than just a bad hair day? Eric Altschuler, M.D., seems to think so.
Altschuler, a research fellow in psychology at the University of California, San Diego, suggests that Samson may have been stricken with antisocial personality disorder.
Writing in February's Archives of General Psychology, Altschuler says that Samson exhibited six of the American Psychological Association's seven criteria for diagnosis of ASPD. Only three are necessary for a diagnosis, according to the APA's DSM-IV diagnostic manual.
According to the researcher, Samson was a bully, a thief and a liar, acted impulsively in burning the Philistines' fields and showed no remorse after killing 1,000 men, all telltale signs of one with an antisocial personality.
Altschuler writes, "It should be noted that Samson also displayed many of the behaviors in the criteria for conduct disorder, such as fire setting, cruelty to small animals, bullying, initiating physical fights, using a weapon and stealing for a victim."
However, Altschuler fails to mention Samson's questionable taste in women.