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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Bradley R. Cutler, MD (Edward Hospital and Health Services)
Description: This is the fifth edition of an extremely popular book on behavior in medicine, edited by the highly regarded Danny Wedding, professor of psychology at Alliant International University, and Margaret Stuber, professor of psychiatry at UCLA.
Purpose: As the editors make clear, "all physicians need to be conversant in the basic principles of behavioral science." Their aim is to help readers practice medicine in a more humane, gentle, and effective manner.
Audience: Targeted specifically for medical students with the goal of helping them pass the behavioral science section of the USMLE, this book is extraordinarily useful for all those interested in the interaction of behavior and medicine.
Features: Composed of 25 chapters, the book is divided into six main parts. Part I focuses on mind-body interactions in medicine, part 2 highlights patient behavior, part 3 emphasizes the importance of the physician's role as healer, part 4 illustrates the power of physician-patient interactions, part 5 deals with both social and cultural issues in healthcare, and part 6 presents USMLE-style questions and answers. All chapters are connected by five core themes, including poignancy and the beauty of the transitions of life and the salience of the sense of self. These themes are brought to life with poems, paintings, and photographs. Each chapter, moreover, contains a summary of important concepts followed by a case study emphasizing key principles.
Assessment: Nearly all books in the field of medicine focus primarily on the biomedical model of disease without taking into account the interaction of medicine and human behavior. Yet it is the richness of behavior that transcends all aspects of health and illness. Medicine, after all, is both a science and an art, and this book masterfully explores the multidimensional nature of medicine. With a call for medical schools to integrate behavioral and social sciences into their curriculum, this book teaches medical students to be excellent diagnosticians in addition to compassionate physician healers. Students will learn about stress and illness in patients as well as dealing with their own health and well-being. The USMLE style questions and answers will help solidify students' newfound knowledge. In an era where the amount of medical information is growing exponentially, it is essential to remember one's humanity and understand how one's behavior influences all aspects of medicine. The principles elucidated in this book are true keystones of medical education.