Have time to read during the pandemic? Want to explore ideas about clinical care, humanism in medical practice, and how best to promote wellness and support diversity and inclusion?

A reading list can help you gather information from multiple authors who have tackled these issues. Viewing and analyzing their perspectives, revealed in the books they have written, will expand your ability to formulate your mindset on these ponderables.

Educator Edward C. Halperin, M.D., M.A. (Chancellor/Chief Executive Officer, New York Medical College, and Provost for Biomedical Affairs Touro College and University System, New York), recently developed an insightful perspective to answer these questions.1  Halperin was asked by a second-year medical student how to answer the first-year medical student’s query about what to read before entering medical school. In crafting an answer, Halperin recognized that a meaningful recommendation comes from the universe of books that a physician-in-training (I submit that the same is true for physicians and anesthesiologists and intensivists, specifically) can read from a variety of venues: novels, books about medical heroes, specialties, race and medicine, infectious disease and diagnostics, and mortality or the nature of medical practice.1 

In a concise and poignant manner, Halperin provided the requested reading list, employing mini “book reviews” of different works from the aforementioned categories. Halperin’s perspective provides examples of classics in each of the six categories with comparative and contrasting observations of their educational value.

Peruse Halperin’s reading list and gain insight into medical practice, wellness, diversity, and inclusion. Halperin aptly reminds us:

“This confirms the wisdom of the late Edmund Pelligrino[*], ‘Medicine is the most scientific of the humanities and the most humane of sciences. It bridges the physical state of the human being with her psychological state, and I daresay with her spiritual state...That is not just a person’s religion, but those transcendent aspects of what she is—and values—beyond the merely material domains of being.’”1,2 

The author declares no competing interests.


“Edmund D. Pellegrino (June 22, 1920 to June 13, 2013)…an American bioethicist and academic…Pellegrino was a distinguished professor of medicine and medical ethics and the Director of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University…an expert both in clinical bioethics, and in the field of medicine and the humanities, specifically, the teaching of humanities in medical school…” From: Wikipedia contributors. Edmund Pellegrino. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. August 2, 2020 at 23:08 UTC. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Pellegrino. Accessed October 11, 2020.

A summer reading list for new medical students during a pandemic.
The Pharos
Foni phronimos - An interview with Edmund D. Pelligrino.
Philosophy, Ethics, and the Humanities in Medicine