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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: William Miles, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This is a comprehensive guide and reference in behavioral medicine for clinicians. The second edition was published in 2003.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide health professionals, students, residents, and practicing clinicians a definitive, practical overview of the behavioral, clinical, and social contexts of the doctor-patient relationship.
Audience: According to the author, the book is written for health professionals, students, resident physicians, and practicing clinicians. However, students might find it too detailed unless it is used as a textbook for a class in behavioral medicine.
Features: The book includes chapters one would expect to find, such as those on empathy, cross-cultural communication, depression, and anxiety. However, it also includes chapters not often seen, such as ones on gay/lesbian/transgender issues, domestic violence, and alternative medicine. A chapter on palliative care and care of the dying patient is particularly well written; a subject that many medical schools are not teaching adequately. There are numerous case illustrations throughout and references end each chapter.
Assessment: This is an extraordinarily thorough, useful book. It manages to summarize numerous topics, many of which are not a part of a traditional medical curriculum, in concise, relevant chapters. Physicians who do not understand the dynamics behind the doctor-patient relationship usually end up being poor doctors, and this book reviews the many behavioral issues that patients have that can affect this relationship. This is a very welcome addition to the medical education literature, and should be required reading for all practicing clinicians.