The Harvard Hypocrisy in Primary Care


In this wonderful ass- kissing article by the AAFP, you can learn how the Harvard Medical School’s Center for Primary Care is working on a “new resource on best practices while illustrating how effective primary care teams are transforming practices”. The article Harvard Medical School Takes Case Study Approach to Primary Care goes on to say that their “research will be part of the Harvard Medical School curriculum for the next generation of students”. Wow.  Big stuff.  I wonder how hard it is to get into Harvard’s family practice residency now?  That’s right, Harvard Medical School is one of only 10 medical schools in the nation that don’t have a department of family medicine! Hmm, that’s funny because there is no mention of that in this AAFP article?  Instead the article extolls the greatness of Harvard Medical School with such lines as:

  • “In order to change primary care, you have to start with students in medical school,” Erin Sullivan, Ph.D., the center’s research and curriculum director said. “Our cases engage students outside of their comfort zones. We ask them to read and discuss issues of management, infrastructure and leadership — real issues that they are likely to face when they start practicing.”

In another article called Why Harvard Medical ignores family medicine they give this tidbit:

  • The dean, Dr. Jeffrey Flier, said the school can’t create a new department without help from its affiliated hospitals, which the school does not control. None of Harvard’s affiliated hospitals has a family medicine department or residency, except Cambridge Health Alliance.

Yeah, that has got to really hard.  It would be like brokering a peace in the Middle East.  Are you kidding me? And yet the AAFP article never points this out.  I guess that is why Authentic Medicine does it for you.



Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  4 comments for “The Harvard Hypocrisy in Primary Care

  1. Christopher Dobrose
    July 8, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    I am not sure what is meant by the statement that they have to have the help of hospitals in the area to have a family medicine department. I would think this is how you go about it: hire family physicians to be faculty, they get privileges at some local teaching hospitals, open an office for your faculty and residents to have a residency practice, tell your specialist programs that family medicine residents will be doing rotations in their programs. Voila! A family medicine residency program.

    The statement that they cant afford a few resident slots to create a department of family medicine is disingenuous at best. I counted how many residents they have. 404 internal medicine, 18 med-peds and 68 peds for a total of 490 residents in medicine and pediatrics.

    Of interest is that I worked in a research lab at Vanderbilt for a year prior to getting into medical school. We had a Vanderbilt Medical School student doing some sort of rotation in our lab. I was not terribly impressed with him and came away with the impression of Vanderbilt as a place you would get your M.D. from if you wanted to do medical research but not if you wanted to have interaction with patients. I was interested to learn from the article you linked to that Vanderbilt is also an “orphan” medical school.

  2. Randy
    July 4, 2016 at 9:46 am

    An institution with little experience actually delivering primary care and historically having a dismissive attitude towards it, will be giving advice on how to practice primary care. It sounds a lot what primary care has had to deal with the last several years.

    • Bridget Reidy
      July 4, 2016 at 2:28 pm

      Well said!

  3. Steve O'
    July 4, 2016 at 9:44 am

    Mysteriously, if you’re out in the Boston Community, you see Tufts degrees and Boston University degrees. Nobody stays within the Boston/Cambridge area unless they are in the Harvard Bubble.

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