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Simulation, Chinese herbs and a career studying killers

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2007 - Spring


For our cover story this issue we asked writer Jennifer Kaylin to explore the ways in which simulation is used to train physicians. Simulation techniques range from mannequins that talk, breathe and even “die,” to sophisticated computer simulators that let residents and students test their skills at intubation and colonoscopy, to actors who take on the characters—and ailments—of patients in order to teach interview skills. These techniques have become standard training tools in medicine and, as medical education increasingly emphasizes clinical skills, a new way of evaluating students and residents.

We also focus on the meeting of mainstream medicine and traditional Chinese medicine. Since ancient times and all around the world, humans have found remedies in herbs and plants. As writer John Dillon reports, Yung-Chi Cheng, Ph.D., the Henry Bronson Professor of Pharmacology, has taken the lead at Yale in seeking out Chinese herbal medicines that can enhance the effects of chemotherapy while mitigating toxic side effects.

Finally, writer Colleen Shaddox takes us into the world of Dorothy O. Lewis, M.D. ’63, HS ’70, who has spent her career studying killers. Since her childhood Lewis has been driven by a desire to know what makes society’s outcasts tick. Although her initial theories fell outside what was then the psychiatric mainstream, her ideas have become accepted and even cited in Supreme Court decisions. Among those she has studied are serial killer Ted Bundy, John Lennon’s assassin Mark David Chapman and Washington sniper John Muhammad. In all violent offenders she has found three elements that add up to a recipe for violence.

John Curtis
Managing Editor