Harvard physicians, best-selling authors to keynote Callahan Distinguished Lecture

Jerome Groopman and his wife, Pamela Hartzband, will make a personal house call to Case Western Reserve University as keynote speakers for the 2012 F. Joseph Callahan Distinguished Lecture at 5:30 p.m., Monday, March 19, in Severance Hall. They will give the free, public talk, “What’s Missing in Medicine,” and discuss their new book, Your Medical Mind: How to Decide What’s Best for You, the sequel to Groopman’s 2007 best-selling book How Doctors Think.

Groopman, an oncologist, is the Dina and Raphael Recanati Chair of Medicine at Harvard University Medical School and chief of experimental medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Hartzband is an assistant professor at Harvard and an attending physician in the Division of Endocrinology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Groopman’s first book is required reading for all Case Western Reserve medical school students—a book in which the author enlightens his audience about how doctors are trained to diagnose patients and how framing a question in a certain way can jog the doctor into thinking outside the box.

In the doctors’ newest book, they continue the conversation about making medical decisions and weighing the statistical chances of treatments and outcomes. They look at patients who take little action against a disease, as well as those who aggressively fight illness.

The doctors explain that humans are not wired to think statistically when making decisions. But the statistics can help patients determine what course of treatment to take, and informed decisions about side effects from medications and treatments can prevent unnecessary medical complications.

For example, only one in 300 people will prevent a heart attack by taking cholesterol-lowering drugs. And 15 people of the other 299 taking such medication will experience severe muscle and joint pain and gastrointestinal problems.

Ultimately, the physicians say, decisions are about the individual. The audience attending the Callahan Distinguished Lecture will have an opportunity to learn more about making informed medical decisions.

Introduced in 2005 as the Distinguished Lecture Series, this annual event engages the Greater Cleveland community in discourse on important topics of our time. In 2010, the event was named in honor of Francis Joseph Callahan Jr., a local business leader, philanthropist and chairman emeritus of Swagelok, a leading fluid system manufacturer headquartered in Solon.

While free and open to the public, tickets are required and available through the Severance Hall Box Office at 216.231.1111. For information, visit case.edu/events/callahan/lecture.